Flexible solar cells based on foldable silicon wafers with blunted edges

Wenzhu Liu*, Yujing Liu, Ziqiang Yang, Changqing Xu, Xiaodong Li, Shenglei Huang, Jianhua Shi, Junling Du, Anjun Han, Yuhao Yang, Guoning Xu, Jian Yu, Jiajia Ling, Jun Peng, Liping Yu, Bin Ding, Yuan Gao, Kai Jiang, Zhenfei Li, Yanchu YangZhaojie Li, Shihu Lan, Haoxin Fu, Bin Fan, Yanyan Fu, Wei He, Fengrong Li, Xin Song, Yinuo Zhou, Qiang Shi, Guangyuan Wang, Lan Guo, Jingxuan Kang, Xinbo Yang, Dongdong Li, Zhechao Wang, Jie Li, Sigurdur Thoroddsen, Rong Cai, Fuhai Wei, Guoqiang Xing, Yi Xie, Xiaochun Liu*, Liping Zhang*, Fanying Meng*, Zengfeng Di*, Zhengxin Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Flexible solar cells have a lot of market potential for application in photovoltaics integrated into buildings and wearable electronics because they are lightweight, shockproof and self-powered. Silicon solar cells have been successfully used in large power plants. However, despite the efforts made for more than 50 years, there has been no notable progress in the development of flexible silicon solar cells because of their rigidity1–4. Here we provide a strategy for fabricating large-scale, foldable silicon wafers and manufacturing flexible solar cells. A textured crystalline silicon wafer always starts to crack at the sharp channels between surface pyramids in the marginal region of the wafer. This fact enabled us to improve the flexibility of silicon wafers by blunting the pyramidal structure in the marginal regions. This edge-blunting technique enables commercial production of large-scale (>240 cm2), high-efficiency (>24%) silicon solar cells that can be rolled similarly to a sheet of paper. The cells retain 100% of their power conversion efficiency after 1,000 side-to-side bending cycles. After being assembled into large (>10,000 cm2) flexible modules, these cells retain 99.62% of their power after thermal cycling between −70 °C and 85 °C for 120 h. Furthermore, they retain 96.03% of their power after 20 min of exposure to air flow when attached to a soft gasbag, which models wind blowing during a violent storm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-723
Number of pages7
JournalNATURE
Volume617
Issue number7962
DOIs
StatePublished - May 25 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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