Solar-Powered Filaments for Wearables

Associate Professor Jayan Thomas works in the NanoScience Technology Department at the University of Central Florida. He’s been researching nano-architectured energy conversion and storage devices. The filaments that Dr. Thomas has created will be able to be woven into textiles, where they can harvest and store solar energy in batteries. Wearables could see an exponential growth and be revolutionized by this technology—if we can get the storage part down.

The promising tech out of Thomas’s lab is a ribbon-like device that has the capability to capture and store energy simultaneously. The material is weave-able and very flexible, which is ideal for clothing and other textiles. Thomas’s design combines a supercapacitor and a solar cell inside the copper ribbon as opposed to using them in two separate devices. The solar cells generate electrons on one side of the ribbon and transfer them to the other side, where they are stored in the supercapacitor.

The woven filaments. Image courtesy of UCF