Spray on solar power

Things advance quickly in the realms of technology. Fifty years ago when television first began broadcasting who would have thought that people could one day choose what they want to view, when they want to view it, on a personal device they can take wherever they want. It is a far cry from the huge wooden boxes that held the cathode ray tubes of early televisions. Don’t get smug though thinking that you sit at the apex of technology and that the pace of change is about to slow. According to a new report for instance, powering something like your tablet computer may be achieved with a spray on solar battery.

The new report is based around tiny light-sensitive materials known as colloidal quantum dots (CQDs). Until now it was only possible to incorporate light-sensitive CQDs onto surfaces through cumbersome batch processing, which is an inefficient and slow way of chemically coating surfaces.

What has been developed though, is a way of spraying CQDs onto surfaces similar to the way ink is printed onto the surface of paper to make a newspaper. In this case though, you are laying down light sensitive CQDs in a layer that is one-atom thick. This spray on process will make applying the CQDs much easier, so that one day powering your tablet might be as easy as wrapping it in a kind of solar cling-wrap.

The researcher behind the breakthrough says he has a vision that one day technicians may be able to come to your home with CQD spray packs on their back and spray solar cells onto your roof.

Could the extension of this be that one day we will be spraying the batteries onto our arms to power the computers that run our bodies and minds? Perhaps that just a little too Spielberg and Cameron…or is it?

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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