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CHEAPER PRINTED SOLAR CELLS WITH ADHESIVE, CONDUCTIVE LAMINATE

Posted By ASC, Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Updated: Thursday, May 7, 2015

Traditionally solar cells require gold electrodes and have opaque backing. Neither is ideal; gold is relatively expensive and opaque materials limit light penetration. Now, the latest generation of solar cells could make use of a nickel grid with a new transparent conductive adhesive. To make the cell, the nickel grid is printed onto a transparent PET (polyethylene-terephthalate) sheet that has been coated with the conductive adhesive. The adhesive was specially formulated for this application. It had to provide a mechanical bond that would allow the cell to function, but also remain crystal clear. Ultimately, an acrylic microemulsion inspired by household tapes was developed. With this adhesive, the nickel grid printed on the PET laminate behaves much like any adhesive tape and can be applied with light pressure for final assembly at room temperature. One of the developers, Daniel Bryant commented, “The critical advantage of the new room-temperature lamination method is that it is well-suited to mass production, using well established processes.”  A group at Swansea University, Wales (UK), that developed the solar cells and the novel adhesive system and is now working to scale up production.

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