Wonderful Engineering

Your Portrait Can Become A Power Source By Using Inkjet Printed Solar Cells

Think of a solar cell printed from an inkjet that can form images and texts. Exciting, isn’t it? Scientists at Aalto University have designed an affordable inkjet-printed solar cell that can change energy to text or images. It can easily work with low-power devices and shows more durability than the previous organic-dye solar cells.

How Does It Work?

How is this cell formed? Inkjet prints a dye solution on Titanium Oxide film. The dye is concentrated, therefore, acting as an electrolyte. This method was first proposed by the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, a research institute in Switzerland. The Aalto team used the technique to make solar cells and used an image file with adjusted transparency and darkness to make the result more clear and efficient.

Credits: Alto University

The result was a cell that was the mesh of colors and patterns. It did not only produce power but also looked aesthetic in images and readable in the text form.

“The most challenging thing was to find suitable solvent for the dye and the right jetting parameters that gave precise and uniform print quality,” says Merve Özkan, one of the researchers.

The cells showed 6.4% efficiency even after 1000+ hours of simulated sunlight and an additional 1154 hours of partial sunlight to accelerate the aging of cells.

“The inkjet-dyed solar cells were as efficient and durable as the corresponding solar cells prepared in a traditional way,” says  Ghufran Hashmi, postdoctoral researcher. “They endured more than one thousand hours of continuous light and heat stress without any signs of performance degradation”

Research Team (Credits: Aalto University)


The team’s research paper was published in Energy & Environmental Science. You can view it here for further details of the project.

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