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Slender-bodied solar panels colored with inkjet

Now, solar cells can be designed to be slender, light, and stretchy to rest on a soap bubble. The new cells competently trap energy from light, and they could all provide an alternative method to generate novel electronic devices like skin patches. Here, conventional sources of energy are inappropriate. The notable progress in electronic robotic skin, sensors for flying devices, and illness detectors have limited power. Somewhat than heavy batteries or a link to an electrical system, they preferred to use portable, ultrathin organic cells to harvest power from light from both indoors and outdoors. 

In now, extra thin solar cells were mainly designed by spin-coating or thermal evaporation, and they are not scalable, hence limiting the device’s geometry. That mechanic entailed using a transparent, brittle, flexible, and conductive material called indium tin oxide (ITO). This material acts as an electrode, and such problems were overcome by applying inkjet print to all formulated layers of the solar cell architecture.

Instead of opting not to use ITO, the team opted for a transparent, flexible, and conductive polymer known as PEDOT: PSS polystyrene sulfonate. The layers of the electrode cover a light-absorbing organic photovoltaic material. Parylene, elastic, impermeable, biocompatible protective casing can be used to cover the entire apparatus. 

However, inkjet printing is very accommodating to increase and reduce the expenses incurred during manufacturing because coming up with working inks was a considerable challenge. Inkjet printing is just a unique science. The intermolecular forces present in the sealed unit and the required ink all require to be prevail over to expel fine droplets from a small opening. Also, solvents are crucial components because when the ink is deposited, the drying affects the film’s quality. 

Once the ink is optimized for each layer of the apparatus, the solar cells print themselves onto the glass to examine their function. They attained a Power Conversion Efficiency of (PCE) of 4.73 percent, prevailing over the record of 4.1 percent for a wholly printed cell. The team confirmed that they could print a cell onto an ultrathin elastic substrate, enabling them to attain a 3.6 percent PCE. The group affirmed that the experiment results carried out mark a milestone for a new generation of versatile, ultra-weight printed solar cells, and they can act as a source of energy. The solar cells can also be integrated into the skin-based medical apparatus.