Cheap Paint-On Flexible Solar Panels

Cheap printable or painted solar panels? Researchers at NJIT (New Jersey Institute of Technology) have developed a way to develop solar cells from polymers.


(Cheap printable or paint-on solar panels from NJIT)

"The process is simple," said lead researcher and author Somenath Mitra, PhD, professor and acting chair of NJIT's Department of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences. "Someday homeowners will even be able to print sheets of these solar cells with inexpensive home-based inkjet printers. Consumers can then slap the finished product on a wall, roof or billboard to create their own power stations."

Mitra and his research team took the carbon nanotubes and combined them with tiny carbon Buckyballs (known as fullerenes) to form snake-like structures. Buckyballs trap electrons, although they can't make electrons flow. Add sunlight to excite the polymers, and the buckyballs will grab the electrons. Nanotubes, behaving like copper wires, will then be able to make the electrons or current flow.

Larry Niven was dreaming in 1995, and thought about something similar:

Black Power, they call it. It turns sunlight into electricity, just like any solar power converter, but you spray it on.
(Read more about Niven's black power)

See also Niven's 'Black Power' Now Available In Infrared for an earlier scoop.

See a picture of the solar panel paint; read more at Science Daily.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/20/2007)

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