Scientists around the world are exploring ways to use the mineral perovskite in solar cells. Cells with perovskite are cheaper and easier to manufacture for solar cells and are able to convert 20% of the energy in sunlight into electricity.
Most importantly for researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Suzhou is the perovskite’s ability to be made 400 times thinner than conventional silicon cells.
To put the cells into weavable threads, the team coated carbon nanotubes in several layers of material, including the crucial perovskite, silver to increase the conductivity, and a protective transparent film.
Don’t throw out your old clothes just yet though, there are still a few bugs in the system. The fabrics main drawback is that contact with air and moisture currently causes the cloth to stop producing electricity after just four days.
Image (c): Andy B