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Collecting the Sun’s Energy: Novel Electrode for Flexible Thin-Film Solar Cells

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Conventional silicon-based rigid solar cells generally found on the market are not suitable for manufacturing moldable thin-film solar cells, in which a transparent, flexible and electrically conductive electrode collects the light and carries away the current. A woven polymer electrode developed by Empa has now produced first results which are very promising, indicating that the new material may be a substitute for indium tin oxide coatings.

The scarcity of raw materials and increasing usage of rare metals is making electronic components and devices more and more costly. Such rare metals are used, for example, to make the transparent electrodes found in mobile phone touchscreen displays, liquid-crystal displays, organic LEDs and thin-film solar cells. The material of choice in these cases is indium tin oxide (ITO), a largely transparent mixed oxide. Because ITO is relatively expensive, however, it is uneconomic to use in large area applications such as solar cells. read more

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