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You've probably heard that the sun is strong enough to power our planet many times over, but without a practical method of harnessing that energy, there's no way to take full advantage. An incredibly thin and light solar cell could go a long way to accomplishing that on a smaller scale, however, making the latest device from researchers from the University of Austria and the University of Tokyo a fairly significant discovery. Scientists were able to create an ultra-thin solar cell that measures just 1.9 micrometers thick -- roughly one-tenth the size of the next device. Not only is the sample slim -- composed of electrodes mounted on plastic foil, rather than glass -- it's also incredibly flexible, able to be wrapped around a single strand of human hair (which, believe it or not, is nearly 20 times thicker). The scalable cell could replace batteries in lighting, display and medical applications, and may be ready to be put to use in as few as five years. There's a bounty of physical measurement and efficiency data at the source link below, so grab those reading glasses and click on past the break.

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Researchers create incredibly thin solar cells flexible enough to wrap around a human hair