Rather than using the classic approach of a solar cell and a battery, researchers from the University of Twente, the MESA Institute for Nanotechnology have developed an interesting microchip that embeds a high-efficiency solar cell.
The devices that Professor Juriaan Schmitz and his team invented use the chip as a base an the solar cell is applied to that base layer by layer. This approach results in a more efficient production process and uses fewer materials.
They used CIGS (copper/indium/gallium/selenide) solar cells (made with amorphous silicon), because the others had been brittle and very fragile.
For the moment, the only requirement in force is that the power required by the microprocessor has to be less than 1 milliwatt. When the solar cell material used will be more efficient, they will be able to capture even more light and produce more power, but that’s it for the moment.
Being able to power themselves independently, such chips could find uses in dozens of open air applications and devices such as sensors, mobile phones and others. This will surely account for significant pollution reductions due to the usage of batteries and wires.