The technologies being developed for increasing the efficiency of solar cells are numerous and all of them seem to be the next big thing that will revolutionize the way we harness solar energy for generating electricity. Microscopic folds are the next in line and they claim to improve the power output of cheap plastic solar cells. This folding mechanism has been inspired from the structure of leaves with tiny folds that allow better photosynthesis.
The underlying principle that makes this technology more efficient is that the addition of curves will create more opportunities for the absorption light. And, when used for even cheap plastic solar cells, it will yield good results, therefore, sparing you the extra cost of installing silicon cells, which are relatively more expensive.
The curves in the solar cells will channel light through the material mimicking the morphology of leaves and how they harvest more light using something as simple as microscopic folds. The absorption capacity of conventional solar cells is lowered when the light’s wavelength increases, but the application of the folding technique will increase the spectrum end by a whopping 600 percent.
For testing the viability of this concept and creating the folded surface, the researchers cured layers of liquid with photographic adhesive with ultraviolet light. The speed at which the adhesive sections cured, determined the degree of tension created and hence the ripples. The shallower ripples were termed as wrinkles and the deeper ones as folds. They also discovered that it was a combination of both wrinkles and folds that produced the best effects.
The above account once again verifies that nature has answers to all our problems. It is much more evolved than human imagination and all we have to do is carefully study it and mimic its working laws. The folding mechanism if successfully implemented will help us save a good amount of wastage of the power of sun, which if harnessed prudently, will help us deal with the future power crisis.