The resulting sandwich of material was then submerged in room-temperature water and one edge of the tape was peeled back, letting water seep in between the nickel layer and the wafer. Once the nickel completely separated from the wafer, the researchers were left with a bare wafer, and the tape with everything else still clinging to it.
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Traditionally, thin-film solar cells are made with rigid glass substrates, limiting their potential applications. Flexible versions do exist, although they require special production techniques and/or materials. Now, however, scientists from Stanford University have created thin, flexible solar cells that are made from standard materials – and they can applied to just about any surface, like a sticker.
To make the peel-and-stick cells, the researchers started by applying a 300-nanometer layer of nickel onto a rigid silicon/silicon dioxide wafer. Using standard fabrication techniques, thin-film solar cells were then deposited onto the nickel. A protective polymer was then applied over the cells, followed by a layer of thermal release tape being applied over it.
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