Two- and three-dimensional folding of thin film single-crystalline silicon for photovoltaic power applications

Xiaoying Guo, Huan Li, Bok Yeop Ahn, Eric B. Duoss, K. Jimmy Hsia, Jennifer A. Lewis, Ralph G. Nuzzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Fabrication of 3D electronic structures in the micrometer-to-millimeter range is extremely challenging due to the inherently 2D nature of most conventional wafer-based fabrication methods. Self-assembly, and the related method of self-folding of planar patterned membranes, provide a promising means to solve this problem. Here, we investigate self-assembly processes driven by wetting interactions to shape the contour of a functional, nonplanar photovoltaic (PV) device. A mechanics model based on the theory of thin plates is developed to identify the critical conditions for self-folding of different 2D geometrical shapes. This strategy is demonstrated for specifically designed millimeter-scale silicon objects, which are self-assembled into spherical, and other 3D shapes and integrated into fully functional light-trapping PV devices. The resulting 3D devices offer a promising way to efficiently harvest solar energy in thin cells using concentrator microarrays that function without active light tracking systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20149-20154
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume106
Issue number48
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

Keywords

  • 3D structure
  • Capillary force
  • Microfabrication
  • Photovoltaics
  • Self-folding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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