Print  |  Send  |   

Silicon based optical fiber with solar-cell capabilities could be woven into solar fabrics

December 14, 2012 // Julien Happich

Silicon based optical fiber with solar-cell capabilities could be woven into solar fabrics

An international team of chemists, physicists and engineers, led by John Badding, a professor of chemistry at Penn State University, has demonstrated for the first time, a silicon-based optical fiber with solar-cell capabilities that is scalable to many meters in length.

Page 1 of 2

The research opens the door to the possibility of weaving together solar-cell silicon wires to create flexible, curved or twisted solar fabrics.

The team's new findings build on earlier work addressing the challenge of merging optical fibers with electronic chips, silicon-based integrated circuits that serve as the building blocks for most semiconductor electronic devices such as solar cells, computers and cellphones. Rather than merge a flat chip with a round optical fiber, the team found a way to build a new kind of optical fiber, with its own integrated electronic component, thereby bypassing the need to integrate fiber-optics with chips. To do this, they used high-pressure chemistry techniques to deposit semiconducting materials directly, layer by layer, into tiny holes in optical fibers.

A cross-sectional image of the new silicon-based optical fiber. Shown are layers, labeled n+, i and p+, that have been deposited inside the pore of the fiber: Source - Penn State University

Now, in their new research, the team members have used the same high-pressure chemistry techniques to make a fiber out of crystalline silicon semiconductor materials that can function as a solar cell, a photovoltaic device that can generate electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct-current electricity. "Our goal is to extend high-performance electronic and solar-cell function to longer lengths and to more flexible forms. We already have made meters-long fibers but, in principle, our team's new method could be used to create bendable silicon solar-cell fibers of over 10 meters in length," Badding said. "Long, fiber-based solar cells give us the potential to do something we couldn't really do before: We can take the silicon fibers and weave them together into a fabric with a wide range of applications such as power generation, battery charging, chemical sensing and biomedical devices."

1 | 2 | Next page

All news


Follow us

Fast, Accurate & Relevant for Design Engineers only!

Technical papers     

Linear video channel


Read more

This month, LabNation is giving away three of its SmartScope open source USB oscilloscopes, worth 229 Euros each, for EETimes Europe's readers to win.

Successfully funded through Kickstarter last year, the SmartScope is claimed to be the world's first test equipment designed to run on multiple operating systems and platforms such as smartphones, tablets and PCs. It is powered directly from...


Design centers     

Infotainment Making HDTV in the car reliable and secure

December 15, 2011 | Texas instruments | 222901974

Unique Ser/Des technology supports encrypted video and audio content with full duplex bi-directional control channel over a single wire interface.


You must be logged in to view this page

Login here :