A group of students from Manchester University have created a paint that is based around the Nobel Prize winning Graphene. This allows the paint to be used to generate solar power and with further development could be used to power homes and could be added to mobile devices to help charge them when not in use.
The properties of Graphene won the Nobel Prize for a team from the University of Singapore in 2004. They determined that it was possible to combine layers that were just an atom thick and generate electricity when reacting with light. The material is harder than diamond and is transparent which gives it the unique properties that Manchester University students benefited from.
The students have devised a Graphene coating that is as thin as a piece of paper and entirely flexible. These panels reacted and generated electricity at a rate that is comparable with existing solar panels. The coating is thin enough and malleable enough to be used to coat the outside of buildings and generate the power needed for appliances and lighting. The team now hope to further improve this coating to become paint.
The team say that by developing the material into a liquid paint substance it could also be used to add a solar powered layer to the outside of mobile phones, tablet computers, and other devices. There are other potential uses for such a coating too; solar powered cars have yet to make a real impact but a Graphene paint may change this.