What are the Swiss up to now???

There is some controversy brewing in the solar cell production environments and it has nothing to do with anyone on Dancing with the Stars. Sorry, that’s my attempt at levity…yes, I won’t quit my day job.

Flexible solar cells with an 18.7% record efficiency developed by scientists at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology were recently reported on Science Daily. That is approaching the CIGS on glass substrates with processes where CIGS layers are grown at temperatures of 600 °C or above.

This can be a game changer in solar cell development and costs to produce. So far the flexible solar cells on polymer films have been far behind in performance compared to rigid cells. This is primarily because polymer films require lower temperatures during deposition of the absorber layer, generally resulting in lower efficiencies. The breakthrough is if cost to product is lower and efficiencies are similar it can change an entire industry.

Check out more on www.ssnano.com, your place to purchase materials.

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What is a Nanotube?

Nanotubes are, by definition, are carbon molecules in the shape of a tube having a fullerene structure and a diameter of 1 to 2 nanometers. A fullerene structure is further defined as any class of allotropes of carbon having hollow molecules. Now let’s figure out what 1 to 2 nanometers are since the nanotubes are that thickness?

To give you and idea, a nanometer is roughly 1 billionth of a meter. In todays world of budget deficits of billions and trillions those words are sometimes said so often they lose their effectiveness. I decided to research how long it would take you to count to 1 billion with each number taking 1 second to count. Counting non-stop, with that 1 second/number rule it would take you 31 years, 251 days, 7 hours, 46 minutes, and 39 seconds to count to 1 billion. If you have some spare time you might want to try this:)

In all seriousness, you can now understand the size values involved in the nanotubes and hopefully it gives you some perspective.