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24.6.10

http://prospect.rsc.org/blogs/cw/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/printing-solar-cells-at-securency-c-t-nicholls.jpgWe're in one of the most fascinating times for the development of technology. We're harvesting electricity from algae, and steering vehicles with our eyes. And now, according to professionals at MIT, we're printing solar cells directly onto paper.

Basically, an organic semiconductor material is applied to the paper using a technique similar to that of a standard inkjet printer. This new technology would transform solar cells from large, heavy and expensive products to something you could staple anywhere. Though the technology is not yet ready for commercial markets, the ability to print solar cells is quite exciting.

MIT is banking on the use of quantum dots, tiny crystals only a couple nanometers in size. In comparison, a single human hair is about 50,000 to 100,000 nanometers thick. Right now, the printed solar cells are only 1.5 to 2 percent efficient when it comes to turning sunlight into usable electricity. While that number may seem small, consider this — if less than 0.5% of the United States were covered with photovoltaics with 10% efficient, we'd be able to satisfy the entire country's needs, three times over.

http://danielputz.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/print-solar-panel.jpgResearchers will continue to develop this technology into the best commercial application possible.

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