Princeton University engineers developed a new technique for producing electricity-conducting plastics that could reduce the costs of manufacturing solar panels.
All technical obstacles of producing plastics, which are translucent, malleable and able to conduct electricity, were overcome by Princeton’s researchers. Their discovery may lead to a broader use of plastics in a wide range of electrical devices.
According to the researchers, plastics could represent a low-cost alternative to indium tin oxide, an expensive conducting material used in solar panels. Their breakthrough could thus ease fears over global warming and energy demand, by employing the low-cost plastic.
Princeton associate professor of chemical engineering Yueh-Lin Loo, commented: "Conductive polymers [plastics] have been around for a long time, but processing them to make something useful degraded their ability to conduct electricity. We have figured out how to avoid this trade-off. We can shape the plastics into a useful form while maintaining high conductivity."