Researchers at the University of Nottingham have integrated 1,200 photographic elements into a 51 by 27 cm piece of textiles. A stable and safe material produces enough energy to charge the devices.
Material equipped with solid but very flexible wire can withstand the same loads as everyday clothes, says scientists. It can be washed in a car at 40 °C with other underwear. In addition, all the photographic elements are made of silicon, so the material is chemically stable and not toxic.
The solar cells, which are only 5 mm long and 1.5 mm wide, are embedded in a waterproof polymer resin and are not felt by the user, are observed by engineers, while the fabric itself remains "spired" — a good air leak.
The tests showed that the material could generate output power between 335.3 and 394 MW, depending on the degree of lighting.
The material that we've developed looks and behaves in all senses and purposes like any ordinary textiles, because it can be combed and washed in a car, but beneath the surface is a network of more than a thousand tiny photoelectric cells that can use solar energy to charge personal devices.