Stanford University Creates Peel-and-Stick Solar Cells

Posted on 1/2/2013 10:26:18 AM By ASC

Scientists at Stanford University have figured out how to make flexible, peel and stick solar cells by using two adhesive applications. Flexible solar panels have previously been constructed but they required specialized materials or manufacturing. The panels developed at Stanford employ standard materials and manufacturing techniques. Fabrication takes place on a silicone/silicone dioxide wafer. Three layers are constructed, a 300-nanlometer layer of nickel is applied first; the solar cells are placed on the nickel; and a protective coating covers the solar cells. Finally, a thermal release tape is applied over the layers. Submerging the wafer in water releases the three layers from the wafer and leaves them attached to the thermal release tape. Then another adhesive can be applied to the nickel surface. That adhesive allows the whole things to be applied to a variety of substrates, and with a heating step the thermal tape peels away to leave a functional solar cell. This technique could be used to apply solar cells to anything from clothing, to personal electronics, to aerospace systems.