A solar cell so thin, it can rest on a soap bubble

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From pv magazine International

While organic PV has long lagged behind silicon and other thin-film technologies, the potential for flexible and ultra-lightweight devices has led to some interesting niche applications in devices with low power requirements, such as wireless sensors and medical devices.

Studies have also shown that the availability of such niche markets for small scale devices can also accelerate the development of new technologies, providing the opportunity for researchers to gain experience with a material in a commercial production setting, without the considerable financial cost of developing pilot production lines that are unlikely to be profitable.

Scientists at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) looked at the opportunity for organic PV to provide power to medical sensing devices, building on previous research that demonstrated a glucose sensor that could be used by diabetes patients to monitor blood sugar without the need for any needles or blood samples.

“The tremendous developments in electronic skin for robots, sensors for flying devices and biosensors to detect illness are all limited in terms of energy sources,” says KAUST postdoc scientist Eloïse Bihar. “Rather than bulky batteries or a connection to an electrical grid, we thought of using lightweight, ultrathin organic solar cells to harvest energy from light, whether indoors or outdoors.”

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