Scientists developed ultra-thin radiation-tolerant solar cell designs needed for satellites to head to higher orbits. As low Earth orbit becomes congested, satellites need to go to higher orbits, exposing them to more severe space radiation.
The scientists developed two devices. One was created by stacking various materials, including an ultrathin layer of light-absorbing gas, which is key to their radiation tolerance.
Electrically-conducting metals border these cells. The alternative method used a silver back mirror to improve light absorption.
The new solar cells, about one-thousandth the size of human hair, are thinner than earlier devices yet produce the same amount of power from converted sunlight after 20 years of use. The new photovoltaic cells could also reduce load and considerably lower launch expenses.
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