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Saving the Earth's remaining resources is the need of the hour. With the population of the world growing at an unprecedented rate, their resources need is going to escalate at an even faster rate. Therefore, we all being the citizens of the Earth need to pitch in and do our bit. Solar energy is a positive step in that very direction. But, many of the commoners fret from going the solar way because of the huge spaces that the solar panels need, which many of the modern city homes lack. A team of researchers in South Korea have tried to solve this very problem.

The researchers have developed solar panels that are so thin and flexible in nature that they can be easily wrapped around the frame of a pair of glasses. According to industry experts, the invention could be a major breakthrough in the field of wearable electronics.

The panel are just a single micrometre across, which means they are much-much thinner than a coat of paint or the average human hair, both of which are usually about 100 micrometres thick. Further, when compared to the existing solar panels in the market, these South Korean invention are about 100 times thinner than the standard solar panels size and 3-4 times thinner than the slimmest of the solar cells available currently available in the market.

According to a statement given by Professor Jongho Lee, an engineer at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology and one of the researchers actively involved in the invention, their solar panels are comparatively much less fragile under bending, and perform almost similarly or slightly better to the panels 3.5 micrometres across.

solar_panel

In order to make these super thin and super flexible solar panels a reality, the scientists made use of a new material that was so flexible that it could easily wrap itself around a pencil. Further, during tests, they also discovered that they could still function when they're wrapped around something which is just 1.4mm wide.

According to initial reactions from the industry, these super thin and flexible solar panels could be incorporated into clothing in order to power wearable technology or even used to provide power for smart glasses.

As per the journal published, the scientists revealed that they made use of a semiconductor, gallium arsenide to make these ultra-thin solar cells see the day of light. According to an article that they published in the journal Applied Physics Letters, their road to the discovery was laced with difficulties. One such instance was when they had to figure out a way to make the material super flexible. In order to make the material flexible, they wanted to avoid using an adhesive as that would add to the material's thickness. This is when they decided to cold-weld the cells to an electrode.

According to Professor Lee, he and his team are quite hopeful that using their method of transfer printing, highly flexible photo-voltaic cells can be made possible using a much lesser amount of materials.

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