Europe's leading independent nanoelectronics research institute and Plextronics,
Inc., an international technology company specializing in printed solar, lighting
and other organic electronics, signed an agreement to collaborate on state-of-the-art
materials and inks for organic solar cells.
With this collaboration, IMEC aims to develop a reproducible process for high-efficiency
organic solar cells using Plextronics’ Plexcore® branded materials
and inks, which have demonstrated world-record efficiencies as high as 5.9%,
according to recent testing at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
IMEC aims to develop organic multi-junction solar cells with efficiency of
10% by 2012. The company’s focus is also on up-scaling of the process
to achieve a large-area industrial manufacturing technology with an average
efficiency of 7% (+/- 0.5%) and solar cell lifetime of 5 years.
To realize these goals, high-quality, highly reproducible commercial materials
are essential. In the first phase, IMEC will investigate Plexcore® OS, which
is a regioregular poly-3-hexylthiophene (P3HT) polymer with a high absorption
coefficient close to the maximum photon flux in the solar spectrum and high
mobility. Plexcore® OS materials will be processed using spin coating and
validated on film morphology, carrier mobility and reproducibility. Solar cells
will be processed on different substrates using spin-coated films of the material.
Future research will include evaluation of other Plexcore® materials and
inks, using deposition techniques such as screen and inkjet printing and spray
coating on large-area substrates.
“Plextronics’ materials look very promising for high-efficiency
reproducible organic solar cells;” said Jef Poortmans, Program Director
Solar at IMEC. “With their focus on materials, inks, and process technology
for organic solar cells, we expect that our work with Plextronics will help
accelerate our optimization and development of an industrial large-area process.”
Plextronics’ Andy Hannah, CEO, said that this collaboration with IMEC
is an important one for the company. “Our focus is on enabling OPV commercialization
with new inks and technology, and partnering with organizations like IMEC that
have processing and device expertise is vital to that goal,” Hannah said.