Solar panels are traditionally produced by processing silicon as a solid or a gas to form solar cells, often cutting large blocks of silicon into thin wafers. The silicon absorbs light from the atmosphere which can then be converted into electricity. New silicon ink developed by Innovalight reduces production costs by requiring the use of less raw materials per panel. An ink is really just a liquid with pigmented particles suspended within it, which dry to form a uniform coating of whatever color is desired — in the case of silicon ink, the particles are simply very small silicon crystals suspended in a solvent. Very thin sheets of silicon film can then be printed to produce solar cells. The exact details of how this new technology works is a carefully guarded Innovalight trade secret, but the first link below explains how the ink may be produced based on a patent filed by the company in greater detail.
Interestingly enough, silicon ink is also being used as a more environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional inks in silkscreen production of commercial textile products.
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