VIDEO: Using a simple bit of sticky tape could lead to ultrathin and ultralight solar cells


Australian scientists have used sticky tape to create single-atom thick layers, termed phosphorene, in the same simple way as the Nobel-prize winning discovery of graphene.

The work with phosphorus could open the door to ultrathin and ultralight solar cells and LEDs.

Unlike graphene, phosphorene is a semiconductor like silicon which is the basis of current electronics technology.

“Because phosphorene is so thin and light, it creates possibilities for making lots of interesting devices, such as LEDs or solar cells,” says lead researcher Dr Yuerui (Larry) Lu from the Australian National University (ANU).

Here’s the science explained:

The team created phosphorene by repeatedly using sticky tape to peel thinner and thinner layers of crystals from the black crystalline form of phosphorus.

As well as creating much thinner and lighter semiconductors than silicon, phosphorene has light emission properties that vary widely with the thickness of the layers, which enables more flexibility for manufacturing.

”This property has never been reported before in any other material,” said Dr Lu. “By changing the number of layers we can tightly control the band gap, which determines the material’s properties, such as the colour of LED it would make.”

The study is published in the Nature serial journal Light: Science and Applications.

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