Science 2 min read

New Thin Film Solar Cells Create Possibilities for Better Devices

New semiconductors built on the atomic level | Broesis |

New semiconductors built on the atomic level | Broesis |

Edgy Labs delves into the world of microelectronic semiconductors as we explore the new thin film solar cell technology that may expand possibilities for cheaper, and more efficient, devices.

Over the past half-century, scientists have helped transform computers from hulking machines into sleek tablets and phones. But the question still looms: can we make even tinier and more powerful devices?

The Thin Film Revolution

A study led by University of Chicago researchers, published earlier this month in Nature, describes a surprising way to create semiconductors “just a few atoms thick”.

“The films, vertically controlled at the atomic-level, are exceptionally high-quality over entire wafers,” said Kibum Kang, a postdoctoral associate who was the first author of the study.

New thin-film #solarcells create catalysts with surprising efficiency. Click To Tweet

Surprisingly, these thin film solar cells “can be made on top of water or plastics,” can be made to detach in water, and “can be carved or patterned with an ion beam,” reports This gives these thin film cells an astounding range of potential application–from computer chips to nanoelectronics.

“We expect this new method to accelerate the discovery of novel materials, as well as enabling large-scale manufacturing,” said Jiwoong Park, a UChicago professor with the Department of Chemistry, the Institute for Molecular Engineering and the James Franck Institute, who led the study.

Potential Applications for Thin Film Solar Cells

One such “novel” application may include integrating these minute solar cells into the electrical infrastructure of CO2 driven automobiles.

Michael Grätzel, a renowned professor of Physical Chemistry at EPFL, recently invented the “dye-sensitized solar cell” (DSSC) a fundamental component in the first-ever low-cost catalyst system.

Using two Earth-abundant catalyst materials (tin oxide and copper oxide), the new system is reported to convert CO2 to CO with 13.4% efficiency.

These thin-film solar cells could easily be adapted to power this catalyst reaction – all while occupying a minute space within the vehicle itself.

What else could thin film solar cells be used for? Smaller, faster, cell phones? Mirco-laptops? Nano-robots? Let us know in the comments below!

First AI Web Content Optimization Platform Just for Writers

Found this article interesting?

Let Stephanie know how much you appreciate this article by clicking the heart icon and by sharing this article on social media.

Profile Image


Comments (0)
Most Recent most recent
share Scroll to top

Link Copied Successfully

Sign in

Sign in to access your personalized homepage, follow authors and topics you love, and clap for stories that matter to you.

Sign in with Google Sign in with Facebook

By using our site you agree to our privacy policy.