While silicon solar panels are somewhat common in many parts of the world, they’re usually too heavy and rigid for miniature electronics and biological applications. To get around those limitations, Derya Baran’s lab at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology is trying to inkjet-print remarkably light solar cells like this one. It’s so thin it can sit on top of a bubble without popping it. By printing and drying various inks, each of which functions as a component of a solar cell, the researchers created a layered but flexible energy conversion device. This photo was named one of Nature’s best science images of 2020.
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This story was updated on June 23, 2022, to correct which institution highlighted the photo in 2020. The image was selected by Nature's visuals team, not Nature Portfolio.