New Way of Making Tiny Organic PV Cells Reported

An article in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, published by the American Institute of Physics, describes very small photovoltaic arrays that could be used to power micromechanical devices. The appearance of a new technical journal in renewables is itself notable; so too the description of techniques that could be used to make tiny PV power supplies for MEMS devices such as those used to detect chemical leaks.

Scientists at the University of South Florida, Tampa, employed a photolithographic technique to isolate individual PV cells and make output contacts for a 20-cell array; they laid down series connections by thermal-vacuum deposition. So far they have engineered arrays to produce 7.8 volts, about half of what would be needed to power a chemical detector made of carbon nanotubes, and they expect to achieve the requisite 15 V by the end of the year.

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