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MIT researchers have created ultrathin solar cells (thinner than a human hair) that can be applied to any surface by means of a self-adhesive coating and that generate 18 times more power per kilogram than conventional cells. These ultralight, flexible panels also offer high torsional resistance: after rolling and unrolling them more than 500 times, they retain more than 90% of their initial power generation capabilities. This makes it possible to turn any surface, whether balconies, boat sails, tents or tarps, drone wings or lapels, into a power source. The only technical barrier to be overcome is the cells’ poor ability to withstand bad weather. MIT engineers will therefore need to find a solution to protect the solar panels in packaging that is flexible, thin and light enough to ensure that the benefits of their innovative product are not lost.


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