Batteries not included... or needed!

European researchers have found a way to integrate printed electronics and photovoltaics to develop a new kind of solar transistor, ultra-thin yet powerful enough to operate 'smart' windows, clothing and ever-smaller electronic devices. No batteries required!

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


 

Published: 29 October 2018  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Human resources & mobilityMarie Curie Actions
Industrial researchIndustrial processes & robotics  |  Materials & products  |  Nanotechnology
Innovation
Nanotechnology
Research policyHorizon 2020
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Denmark
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Batteries not included... or needed!

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© File: #124356375 | Author: tantawat, 2018 fotolia.com

Traditional transistors, the building blocks of electronic circuits, are too bulky and power-intensive for many would-be applications. New low-cost, high-current alternatives are needed. Printing them on long rolls like a newspaper press is possible but they still need outside power sources, and performance can be poor.

The EU-funded HCAPT has developed a new kind of high-performing transistor printed on electrochromic organic sheets – a continuous roll of foil mixed with polymer solar cells. This, the project team says, paves the way for “intelligent windows operating without the need for batteries”. For example, office windows with built-in sensors can automatically adjust how much light is allowed in.

Apps on a roll

Such clever windows are just one application for this sort of “self-powered sheet with printed electronics”. Other possibilities include clothing with pliable integrated electronics or sensors reading the wearer’s heart rate, for example, or functional organic sheets as low-cost sensors for bio-testing samples.

The project has shown that one square metre of an electrochromic sheet can be powered by a 5 cm strip made of printed solar cells and transistors along the bottom, and that all the components can be manufactured during the same roll-to-roll printing processes.

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie project’s work and technology has been described in several international journals and at major conferences. Working examples and cases are now being developed to demonstrate real-life applications for the technology. The project’s approach is captured well in a short video.

Project details

  • Project acronym: HCAPT
  • Participants: Denmark (Coordinator)
  • Project N°: 659747
  • Total costs: € 212 194
  • EU contribution: € 212 194
  • Duration: May 2015 to April 2017

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