Borrowing principles from kirigami, a paper-cutting variant on the ancient Japanese art of origami, scientists have invented solar cells which can capture over a third more energy than those currently found in conventional solar panels.
Solar power station in Crimea
© Sputnik/ Taras Litvinenko
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A new design for solar panels is able to capture up to 40 percent more energy than traditional solar trackers, by using principles borrowed from kirigami, the ancient Japanese art of paper cutting.
“The design takes what a large tracking solar panel does and condenses it into something that is essentially flat,” explains Aaron Lamoureux, a doctoral student in materials science and engineering at the University of Michigan, and lead author of a paper on the development, published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Communications.
Inside the new design, which looks like a conventional solar panel, an array of small solar cells are backed with a plastic sheet that splits into wavy, connected ribbons when stretched, thus tilting the cells towards the sun’s ray’s.