Researchers develop chips with solar cells directly on the surface

Dec 31, 2010

Powering electronics and other devices with energy from the sun collected by a solar cell is nothing new. Solar powered gear like calculators and other items have been around for years. Typically, you have separate chip and a separate solar panel for power. Researchers have developed a way to power chips with solar cells that are directly integrated into the microchip.

The integration of the solar cell directly into the chip allows the chip to take up less space and generate their own power. The solar cells placed directly on top of the electronic components means that the chips need no batteries. The design of the solar cells means that the chips must need less than 1milliwatt of power according to the researchers.

Like those calculators I mentioned before, the solar panels can collect enough juice to allow the chips to be used indoors. The major risk in the construction of chips with integrated solar panels is that the production of the solar panels might damage the electronics so the chips function less efficiently. The chip is used as the base for the solar panels and then the solar array is put onto the chip layer by layer. To reduce the chance of damaging the chips the researchers use solar cells made of amorphous silicon also known as CIGS. via SlashDot

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