Xiaolin Zhen with his research team decided to create solar panels on a self-adhesive basis.
Xiaolin was inspired by her father, who somehow noticed that to get solar energy it would be good to use not only the roof, but the entire surface of the building (currently in China on the roofs of most buildings installed panels for energy ).
The research group Zheng was able to develop a technology that allows the creation of thin, elastic and self-adhesive panels for the conversion of solar energy. The invention is a small sticker, which, according to the idea of the authors, will be able to provide food almost everything from homes to planes.
As Xiaolin herself said, this panel is suitable for use in various ways, and the young specialist hopes that her idea will help make solar energy practical and affordable.
In 2010, Zhen familiarized herself with one scientific work, which again reminded her of the idea of obtaining the energy of the sun from any surface of the building. In the project that Xiaolin read, an experiment with graphene and nickel was described (graphene was grown in a nickel layer on a silicon wafer and after the plate was immersed in water, nickel and graphene detached from it). This experiment pushed the young engineer to the idea of creating a thin and flexible plate that could hold on to any surface.
Standard solar cells on a thin film are produced on plates of silicon or glass, which makes them rigid, heavy and restricts the use.
Using a plastic or paper base allows the solar panel to be more elastic, but such panels are not able to withstand high temperatures and are destroyed by the action of chemistry.
During the operation, the Zheng team used glass or silicone for the base of the panels. A metal layer was inserted between the top layer and the substrate. After several unsuccessful attempts, experts were able to separate the metal from the top layer when soaking.
As a result, the development team created an active solar panel with a thickness of approximately 1/10 polyethylene film. Specialists were able to create a flexible material that is attached to any surface (roof, window, phone, column, etc.).
The new elastic panel produces the same amount of electricity as the rigid one, besides it has economic advantages (reduced production costs, low cost).
With the standard production of solar panels, the base layer costs 25% of the total cost. Thanks to the new method of the Zheng team, the base layer will be made of cheaper material or it will be replaced by an existing one, for example, on the window on which the photosensitive element will be attached.
Zheng remarks that even after use, silicon wafers remain shiny and clean and can be used again and again, which saves money. Self-adhesive solar panels are easily installed for the same reason.