http://m.smh.com.au/technology/meet...-just-keeps-on-keeping-on-20110811-1iotx.html FLEXIBLE solar panels, thinner than a human hair or a sheet of paper, will soon be used by Australian soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan as a portable power source. The solar cells, invented by researchers at the Australian National University, can be used to cover helmets, tents or clothing and recharge electronic gear such as night vision goggles. They also have extensive potential in civilian applications, including recharging phones and computers, because a square metre of lightweight solar panel can generate 140 watts of power and yet be rolled up into a ball afterwards. In practice, many square metres of panel could be unfurled from a box about the same size as a wine cask. ''A typical solar cell is about 0.2 millimetres thick, which is 200 micrometres - that's too thick to bend, it would shatter,'' the project's chief investigator, Andrew Blakers, said. ''But these cells are about 45 microns thick, so they are flexible and also about the same efficiency as commercial solar cells. By comparison, really fine quality merino wool is about 18 microns thick.''