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Active self-cleaning technology for solar panels

Researchers:
Professor KarlBöhringer (PI)
Di Sun, graduate student, electrical engineering

By microfabrication process, University of Washington Electrical Engineering (UW EE) Professor Karl Böhringer and UW EE  graduate student Di Sun can create micro-sized patterns on a glass surface. By vibration, water droplets can be guided along the patterns and clean away surface contaminants. In a handout, the pictures on the top show their first prototype. Under vibration, a water droplet follows a zig-zag pattern, cleaning the contaminants on a flat surface within one minute. Each water droplet can carry up to 2mg of sand particles. The researchers plan to integrate more capabilities with their demo system, including a water condensation system to collect water from air and a water micro dispenser system to dispense water droplets automatically.