Solar cells are getting better at harvesting energy from the sun and turning that into electricity. But because they're made from plastic or glass, solar cells are bulky and stiff, which limits where they can be used. That's about to change. A group at Stanford University has made a photovoltaic cell that can be peeled off of a backing like a sticker and attached to any surface.
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The researchers, lead Xiaolin Zheng, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, started with the foundational material for conventional solar cells -- the silicon dioxide wafer. Silicon releases electrons when light hits it and its those electrons that are captured and used for electricity. Typically, the wafers are thick and stiff and not flexible at all. But Zheng and her team had a plan.
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First, they laid down a 300-nanometer film of nickel on top of the wafer. Next, they coated it with a protective plastic. The result was a super-thin layer of nickel and plastic on top of the silicon dioxide wafer. Those three layers are the necessary active ingredients of a working solar cell. But in this stage, the solar cell is still thick and rigid.
So, the research put a layer of thermal release tape on top. Then they then dipped the whole thing in room-temperature water. By tugging back on the thermal release tape, they were able to peel back a very thin, three-layered "sandwich" of plastic, nickel and silicon dioxide -- leaving behind most of the silicon dioxide wafer.
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The ultrathin three-layered sandwich was so thin that it could flex. And because the process removed only a nanometer-scale layer of silicon dioxide, the wafer could be used again in the same process to make more super-thin solar cell sandwiches. That would reduce waste at solar cell manufacturing plants.
But the researchers didn't stop there. Zheng's group then heated the solar cell to about 194 degrees Fahrenheit to make it soft enough to take on any shape and attach to any surface. In order to work, it would still need to be connected to electrodes and other components that would ultimately allow the harvested sunlight to be used as electricity.
The method Zheng and her team came up with would work on conventional electronics as well as unconventional ones, such as clothing. In the meantime, it will be nice to fuel a phone from the sun rather than worrying about battery life.
via Stanford University
Credit: Chi Hwan Lee, Stanford University
Credit and for more reading visit http://news.discovery.com/tech/stick-on-solar-cells121227.html#mkcpgn=twdsc1
http://www.pointofview.net/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=21611 for more inforormation.
From our IRN USA Radio News Show Affiliate.
‘NO GLOBAL WARMING FOR 16 YEARS’
World Net Daily – John Griffing
Christopher Monckton explains truth of scandal over climate change
Global warming an Al Gore myth???
The attendees at the recent global “climate” conference in Doha, Qatar, most of them highly influential and powerful in their home countries, were treated to a special address recently.
“There has been no global warming for 16 years (actually 18 or 19 years, on closer examination),” the speaker said. “Even if warming were to occur at the predicted rate this century, it would be many times cheaper to adapt … than to attempt, futilely, to mitigate it today. An independent scientific enquiry would be a good idea, to make sure that the conferences on the climate were still heading in the right direction.”
Those words are what Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, described as the high priest of climate skepticism and a regular columnist for WND, recalls telling the stunned crowd of affluent attendees.
He addressed the conference, which had just finished hours of consultation and discussion of how to prepare for the catastrophe long predicted by Al Gore, that of global warming.
“My intervention in Doha was on the spur of the moment, right at the end of the final plenary session when no one else wanted to speak,” he told WND. “The intervention gained very substantial international publicity, and I had not expected this. As a result, it is now widely known that there has been no global warming at all for more than a decade and a half.
“The fact had been concealed from the world by the news media, now largely controlled (in the West, at any rate) by the hard left,” he said. “Now the media are looking silly, the politicians are beginning to wake up, and perhaps – just perhaps – a little common sense will now creep into the climate debate.
“But it would be wise not to hold one’s breath,” he said.
He agreed recently to an interview with WND on topics including the ice cap, sea levels, warming vs. cooling trends, carbon emissions, greenhouse effect, data padding and others details.
The Question-and-Answer exchange follows:
Question: Alarmist models and charts abound, showing a dramatic increase in temperature at the end of the 20th century, the foremost being the famous “hockey stick” graph – the primary basis for global warming scenarios. Yet NASA records a significant drop in temperature over the same period. Defenders of global warming justify this large discrepancy by differentiating between “tropospheric” and “stratospheric” temperatures for the period in question. What are your thoughts about this conundrum? Why is there such a large difference between these two indices of temperature? Which analysis of the data is correct?
Answer: From 1980-2000, the stratosphere – the climatically inactive upper region of the atmosphere – had been cooling, while during the same two decades there had been surface warming at a rate equivalent to 0.17 Cº/decade. Climate extremists had tried to suggest that the stratospheric cooling was occurring because greenhouse gases in the troposphere (the climatically-active lower region of the atmosphere) were inhibiting the return of long-wave radiation to space. Their argument was that if the sun had been the cause of the warming the stratosphere as well as the troposphere would have warmed. However, around 2000 the stratospheric cooling and global warming ceased. The extremists now seldom mention stratospheric cooling as a hallmark of manmade global warming, not least because they have finally been compelled to admit that the debate is not about whether CO2 and other greenhouse gases can cause some warming (they can) but about how much warming they will cause.
Q: Studies done by Harvard meteorologists have been unable to replicate the extreme scenarios and findings of the IPCC without “data padding.” Has “data padding” obstructed public knowledge of actual temperature trends? Can you explain data padding and other statistical anomalies in global warming discussions to readers? Did the IPCC, in your view, falsify data?
A: Arbitrary interpolation, sometimes called “padding the data,” is a procedure by which climatologists [for] regions of the Earth such as the Antarctic, where temperature stations are few, fill in guesstimates of what the data would have been in various places that have no thermometer measurements. This technique was used three years ago in a now-notorious paper by various authors including Michael Mann of Penn State University, in which it was pretended that Antarctica had been warming over the past 30 years when in fact it had been cooling. It was subsequently shown that one of the main reasons for this bizarre result was improper interpolation.
Climate-extremist scientists have often tampered with the data.