New MIT-developed Materials Make it Possible to Produce Photovoltaic Cells on Paper or Fabric

Last October, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Vladimir and Karen Gleason Bulovich demonstrated the possibility of placing solar batteries on a paper substrate, and six months later print it directly on paper. Their project, that are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Italian energy company Eni, has continued to evolve.The latest achievement was a workable device, the basis for which can  serve as newsprint or tissue paper, as well as carbon paper and tracing paper. PV square of paper with a side of 7 cm has a capacity of more than 50 volts: this is sufficient, for example, to power the electric clock.Flexion batteries or folding it like an accordion doesn’t affect to efficiency, although, of course, the reduction of the  working surface reduces the power.

Moreover, the prototype worked even when passed through an ordinary laser printer, the text printed on it.Manufacture of paper of solar cells, unlike silicon, doesn’t require high temperatures.The next task of researchers is increase the efficiency, which now amounts to about 1% (compared to almost 20% of standard solar panels).