Flexible solar panels could power next-gen Internet of Things devices

A highly-flexible and portable solar cell could power the next generation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, its creators have claimed, including wearable technology and foldable displays.

Traditional solar panels’ rigidity and high weight have limited their application in flexible electronics, said the researchers at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. The team, led by Muhammad Hussain, aimed to overcome these issues with a new design while maintaining the same levels of efficiency.

To tackle the issue, the researchers built rigid silicon segments linked by screen-printed aluminium contacts, positioned at the back to optimise light absorption and allow modifications of the silicon sections. The result is an array that can bend to different shapes such as zig-zags or two-sided cells.

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