“Solar Glitter” from Sandia

I saw a headline “New solar glitter can make virtually anything solar powered” [1], and I just had to take note!

This is yet another cool new material for flexible photovoltaic solar power (see earlier posts from China and Los Alamos, among others), in this case emerging from US Sandia National Lab. (There is a URL here this month, who knows if the project or the web page will be disappeared by the new US administration.)

The technology is Microsystems Enabled Photovoltaics (MEPV), which uses microchip fabrication techniques to create really, really small PV cells, little hexagons “as small as 14 microns thick and 250 microns wide”. Hence the term “solar glitter”!

These cells are “painted” on materials and surfaces, which can be any shape and size, and can be very flexible, bending at the seams between little flakes of glitter. Just the thing for wearable devices, tiny sensors, or mobile devices.

Flexible photovoltaic module with the distance between curved peaks being measured. The ruler unit is in centimeters.
Flexible photovoltaic module with the distance between curved peaks being measured. The ruler unit is in centimeters.

After a number of years of development, this technology is now be commercialized with the trade name “Dragon SCALEs(TM)”. (Perhaps the name is at least partly Sinophile.)

Cool!

Personally, I’d love to see some real “glitter”: tiny lights with Dragon Scales. In bright light they charge up and glitter. In low light, they glow.

Paint them on buildings, vehicles, clothing, makeup. Magic!

(If you want a business model, use them for advertising and brand labels.)


  1. Lacy Cooke, New solar glitter can make virtually anything solar powered, in inhabit. 2017. http://inhabitat.com/sandia-solar-glitter-can-fit-into-and-power-devices-of-any-size-or-shape/
  2. mPower Technology, Inc. mPower. 2017, http://www.mpower.technology/.
  3. Sandia National Laboratories. Microsystems Enabled Photovoltaics (MEPV). 2017, http://energy.sandia.gov/energy/renewable-energy/solar-energy/photovoltaics/pv-research-development-activities/materials-fabrication/microsystems-enabled-photovoltaics/.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s