Flexible solar cells have received growing attention recently because of their ever-increasing range of applications. Here, the development of ultraflexible, lightweight, and high efficiency (19%) monocrystalline silicon solar cells with excellent reliability, mechanical resilience, and thermal performance is demonstrated by applying a corrugation method combined with laser patterning. The flexing mechanism converts large-scale rigid photovoltaic cells with interdigitated back contacts (IBCs) into a flexible version with a preserved efficiency. The corrugation technique is based on the formation of patterned grooves in active silicon to achieve ultraflexibility. As a result, islands of silicon with different shapes are obtained which are interconnected through the IBCs. Multiple corrugation patterns such as linear, honeycomb, and octagonal designs are studied, each resulting in different flexing capabilities in terms of flexing directionality and minimum bending radius, in addition to providing an atypical appearance with an aesthetic appeal. The corrugation method is shown to improve thermal dissipation (14.6% lower temperature) and to relieve the thermal mismatch challenge compared to the rigid cells because of the finlike architecture. Finally, encapsulation using a transparent polymeric material enables a robust performance of the flexible cells when exposed to different environmental conditions such as acid rain, snow, and mechanical shocks.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2015-Sensors-2707, OSR-2016-KKI-2880.
Acknowledgements: M.M.H. conceived and directed the project. N.E.-A. led the fabrication, characterization, and analysis of the solar cells. R.A. aided in conducting the dropping test using the drone. R.S. assisted in calculating the loss of area in the different solar cells. The findings were discussed by all the authors. The authors acknowledge support provided by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under award no. Sensor Innovation Initiative OSR-2015-Sensors-2707 and KAUSTKFUPM Special Initiative OSR-2016-KKI-2880.