Solar Cells Can Recharge Cell Phones

Solar cells use photosensitive dye to provide power for e-book readers to cell phones, but what happens when a solar charged cell phone breaks? Independent repair shops will still be on standby.

New solar cells can convert sunlight to energy, in much the same way that leaves use chlorophyll to begin photosynthesis. The key is a photosensitive dye expressed by miniature solar panels that can assume as many shapes as the humanoid “shape shifters,” a species of extraterrestrial alien once featured on a Star Trek spinoff television series. E-book readers will stitch the thin, flexible panels into the reader’s cover. New lines of backpacks and sports bags already have the solar cells housed inside their fabric to recharge cell phones and music players.

The only prerequisite is light, either full direct sunshine for best results, or dappled and ambient light, such as fluorescent bulbs used indoors, for acceptable results.

The newest technological twist is the dye. Until this innovation, photovoltaic cells consisted of silicon or related inorganic materials, not dyes.

The dye-sensitized cells have become increasingly efficient at converting sunlight and other ambient light into electricity. It works like this: Within the solar cell, the dye is painted in a thin layer on a porous titanium dioxide scaffold to collect light, and in a series of steps, to create power.

All well and good, but fast forward a year or two, when solar cells have become commonplace to charge waning cell phones. The very employment of this technology is likely to mean less dependence on cell phone manufacturers as conventional chargers become passé.

Manufacturer warranties will also become increasingly passé as consumer independence becomes the rule, instead of the exception. Cell phones, even smartphones, which will by then no doubt approach genius level, will no longer need battery chargers. But humans being what they are, these devices will still be subject to human error, and BREAK. With all this extra autonomy for consumers, what then? What options for repair will still exist? Not to fret, not yet. Independent repair shops are likely to be more prevalent in this brave new solar-charged world, not less.

Cell phones and their cousins are likely to be cracked and smashed, or damaged by water, or even get infiltrated into their delicate mechanisms by such prosaic invaders such as a dash of eggnog. But skilled service technicians will know what to do then, just as they do now.

Jeff Gasner is with CPR-Cell Phone repair. The leader in Cell Phone Repair and iPod repair offering cell phone repair services nationwide. To learn more about Cell phone repairipod repaircell repair services, visit

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