|A cross-sectional image is shown of a silicon-based optical fiber with solar-cell capabilities. Shown are the layers -- n+, i, and p+ -- that have been deposited inside the pore of the fiber. (Image: Badding lab, Pennsylvania State University)|
University Park, PA and Southampton, England--Researchers at Pennsylvania State University and the University of Southampton have created a silicon-based optical fiber with solar-cell capabilities that is scalable to many meters in length and has a bend radius of about 400 microns. Possible in the future: weaving together solar-cell silicon wires to create flexible, curved, or twisted solar fabrics. The findings are posted in an early online edition of Advanced Materials and will be published on a future date in the journal's print edition.
The team's new findings build on earlier work addressing the challenge of merging optical fibers with silicon chips. Rather than merge a flat chip with a round optical fiber, the team found a way to build a new kind of optical fiber with its own integrated electronic component, bypassing the need to integrate fiber-optics with chip-based electronics. To do this, they used high-pressure chemical vapor deposition to deposit semiconducting materials directly into holes in optical fibers.
Laser Focus World:
Silicon p-i-n junction optical fibers could lead to photovoltaic fabrics