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Printed Electronics World
Posted on March 14, 2008 by  & 

Cheap energy may be on the horizon

Cheap energy may be on the horizon with the manufacture of solar cells by highly efficient inkjet printing.
US based company Konarka Technologies has published the performance of highly efficient inkjet printed organic bulk heterojunction solar cells in a paper called "High Photovoltaic Performance of Inkjet Printed Polymer: Fullerene Blends in "Advanced Materials."
Inkjet printing is a commonly used technique for controlled deposition of solutions of functional materials in specific locations on a substrate and can provide easy and fast deposition of polymer films over a large area. The demonstration confirms that organic solar cells can be processed with printing technologies with little or no loss compared to "clean room" semiconductor technologies such as spin coating. The most popular printing tool for organic electronics, inkjet printing could become a smart tool to manufacturer solar cells with multiple colors and patterns for lower power requirement products, like indoor or sensor applications. Inkjet printing is considered very promising because the polymer devices can be fabricated very easily because of the compatibility with various substrates and it does not require additional patterning.
Konarka say that the technology could be used for laptops and PDAs which could be operated longer without the need to plug them into a standard wall outlet. Military applications include battery charging on the battlefield, remote power for unmanned vehicles and soldiers, and solar-powered sensor which can be charged with indoor or outdoor light.
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