The researchers explained that the need for electricity increases as the number of new devices increases. Moreover, most people are on the move, so they are constantly dependent on power sources to charge their smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Therefore, they presented a solution in which electricity can be drawn from the user’s clothing. Using a new polymer that is applied to textile fibers, jackets, T-shirts can be turned into a mobile energy source.
Luminescent materials capture the scattered ambient light and transfer its energy to the actual solar cell, which then converts the light into electrical energy. However, they can only be in the form of rigid components and are unsuitable for use in the textile industry, since they are not flexible and do not allow air and water vapor to pass through. An interdisciplinary research group has been able to combine several such luminescent materials into a polymer that provides flexibility and breathability.
“The reason we chose this particular polymer is that we are able to combine two immiscible luminescent materials at the nanoscale and enable them to interact with each other. Of course, there are other polymers into which these materials could be integrated, but this would lead to their aggregation, and thus energy production would be impossible, ”the scientists note.
The new solar concentrators can be applied to textile fibers without making the textiles brittle or prone to cracking or accumulation of water vapor in the form of sweat. Garment-worn solar energy concentrators provide a huge advantage in the ever-increasing demand for energy, especially for portable devices.