You're lying on the beach listening to music, and the battery in your MP3 player is running low. Not to worry: you can simply plug it into your towel for some extra juice.
That scenario might not be far off thanks to inexpensive spray-on solar cells that can be applied to almost any surface, from plastic to fabrics.
Conventional solar cells are expensive to make. With a view to bringing costs down, Brian Korgel and colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin have developed a light-harvesting ink containing nanocrystals of copper indium diselenide. This can be sprayed onto a range of surfaces at room temperature using an airbrush. "It's essentially how you might paint your wall, except the pigment has a purpose," Korgel says.
From New Scientist
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