Big Ten Network Highlights UW Professors for Solar Textile Research

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Trisha Andrew was recently highlighted in a commercial for the Big Ten Network for her work with solar cells and textiles.

The commercial introduces Andrew and colleague Marianne Fairbanks, assistant professor of design studies at UW-Madison, as the first group to include both a device person and a designer. Andrew has a history using commodity dyes as electric components in devices, while Fairbanks’ background is in classical art and design.

The major problem Andrew sees now in solar textile development is the disconnect in translating technology from the lab into a larger, usable textile. The duo is currently working on weaving a solar cell together to make it wearable by making a textile conductive and put layers together with a metal layer on top.

Andrew and Fairbanks' groundbreaking research collaboration is an exemplary display of the Wisconsin Idea, as it will hugely benefit Wisconsin residents and society as a whole.

Comments by the duo:

Andrew: “There are terawatts of light that is impinging on earth everyday, so it just makes sense to basically harvest light using something you wear.”

Fairbanks: “We’ve become so advanced with our communication devices, that I just wonder if we can be as advanced with the way we collect our energy.”

Learn more about Trisha Andrew and the solar textile research.