A solar cell can now be heat-printed onto your T-shirt sleeve. A team of researchers from Riken Research and Toray Industries has created a flexible, organic solar cell that attaches to a shirt with a melted polyurethane substrate with no damage done to the cell.
“Power sources that are flexible enough to be attached onto curved and rough surfaces are one of the most promising solutions to supplying electrical power directly to Internet of Things sensors, wearable sensors, and electronic devices,” the researchers wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, according to GE Reports.
These flexible solar cells have the potential to offer solutions for on-the-go charging for smartphones and different wearable technology. Eventually, they hope to power products such as tents with solar cells, potentially providing electricity to survivors stranded from natural disasters.
The solar cells are about three micrometers thick, and can withstand temperatures over 100 degrees Celsius, which helps from ruining the solar cell when it is heat-printed onto fabric. The cells can also convert energy with 10 percent more efficiency than other organic solar cells.
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