Solar fiber for photovoltaic textiles
Konarka, the number one flexible solar malarial maker from US has made another significant step towards photovoltaic (solar) textiles. An article on Science Magazine discusses how a wire format requires long-distance transport of current that can be achieved only with the help of conventional metals and thus eliminating the use of transparent oxide semiconductors. Stainless steel wires the thicknesses of a human hair of around 100 micron get a three layer coat to form a organic solar cell. A second wire just 50 microns thick is coated with silver paste for the secondary electrode. These two wires are inter-winded and coated in a clear polymer coat for protection and insulation. This will help in harvesting 3% of the light into electrical energy. The first prototypes are several hundred feet long and can be woven into textiles or other power generation clothing. I don’t know if you can wash it or whether you will get a shock if you are drenched in rain. Since it’s just a prototype, probably when the real thing comes out they would have figured out that by then.