Flexibility and Solar Energy
Solar panels, used by homeowners and utilities, typically rely on a mix of sunlight and silicon to create electricity. The ultrapure silicon wafers in the panels can be problematic. Carbon-based panels are an alternative, but these use indium, which is costly, brittle, and rare. Scientists eliminated the indium by redesigning the cell to use a thin, copper-based mesh. The new cell is more efficient than indium-based designs and can be rolled onto different surfaces. One day, this design could change how the nation generates electricity. The work was done by the Center for Interface Science: Solar Electric Materials, an Energy Frontier Research Center led by the University of Arizona from 2009 to 2014.
Choi S, Y Zhou, W Haske, JW Shim, C Fuentes-Hernandez, and B Kippelen. 2015. "ITO Free Large Area Flexible Organic Solar Cells with an Embedded Metal Grid." Organic Electronics 17:349-354. DOI: 10.1016/j.orgel.2014.12.029