What Is This?

When I first saw this abstract image, I thought I was looking at some weird crystals, or maybe some snowflakes under the microscope using polarised light. The answer was much more amazingerest and surprising than that.

These are the new solar cells developed at Sandia National Laboratories, the guys who brought us the nuclear bomb and many other wonderful inventions. The cells are made of crystalline silicon, which means that they can produce the same energy as most standard solar cells, even while they are 10 times thinner. How much? They can get 14.9 per cent solar-to-electricity power conversion efficiency at only 14 to 20 micrometres thickness. By comparison, a human hair is 70 micrometres thick.

As a result of their thickness and overall size, the Sandia Labs' solar cells can be attached to any flexible surface, including cloth. In other words: These things have the potential to turn your jacket or underpants into a giant walking power source. Or a small one. That depends on you. [Physorg via Inhabitat]

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