The researchers from the Tokyo University, Japan and from Johannes Kepler University, Austria have created the world’s thinnest and lightest solar battery having a thickness of only 1.8 micrometers. As described in an article published in Smartplanet, this solar battery is thin enough to wrap around a human hair and thinner than a skein of spider silk. As dimensions the thin-film device comprises of electrodes on a plastic foil, and is a tenth of the size of the thinnest solar cells currently available.
The scientists applied ink containing an organic semiconductor to plastic film that measures 1.4 micrometers in thickness. According to the researchers, the thinnest battery to date was 25 micrometers.
One gram of the solar battery produces 10 watts of energy. The efficiency of conversion from solar power to electricity is 4.2 percent, substantially lower than typical solar panels. However, the new battery can function without conversion rate drops when folded or bent. According to the team, the spider-silk soar batteries can also be made cheaply.
It is hoped the ultra-thin solar cells can be used in order to monitor health by the general public. Tsuyoshi Sekitani from the University of Tokyo, one of the researchers said: “Being ultra-thin means you don’t feel its weight, and it is elastic. You could attach the device to your clothes like a badge to collect electricity. Elderly people who might want to wear sensors to monitor their health would not need to carry around batteries.”
The team hopes that once the rate of electricity conversion has been increased and developed further, the solar cells could be put into practical use within five years.