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Interface Layer Enabling High Performing OPV Devices on Rough Metallic Substrates

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Organic Photovoltaic (OPV) devices are a rapidly emerging PV technology due to their relatively low production costs and their ability to be processed by mature, high-throughput manufacturing techniques (i.e., roll-to-roll processing). OPV devices with a superstrate configuration, though, require costly screen printed silver or expensive evaporation of metal. Conversely, OPV devices with a substrate configuration utilize rough, inexpensive metal foils, making them a desirable alternative to superstrate configured OPV devices. However, the substrate configuration necessitates different interface layers between the rough, metal layer and the bulk heterojunction layer. For instance, a substrate OPV device with a ZnO interface layer, rough aluminum foils, and a PCBM:P3HT bulk heterojunction layer generates an open-circuit voltage (VOC) of less than 250 mV, compared to the full VOC of approximately 580 mV. Thus, there is a need for an alternative interface layer to enhance the performance of substrate OPV devices on rough aluminum foils.


NREL researchers have developed a novel alternative interface layer for substrate OPV devices on rough aluminum foils that is comprised of Ti/TiOx – ZnO. This novel interface layer is situated between a micron-rough Al foil layer and either a PCBM:P3HT or ICBA:P3HT bulk heterojunction absorber layer. With a PCBM:P3HT bulk heterojunction layer, a ZnO or Ti/TiOx interface layer generates nearly the full open circuit voltage of approximately 580 mV. Furthermore, when paired with a ICBA:P3HT bulk heterojunction layer, this novel Ti/TiOx – ZnO interface layer enables voltages of up to 780 mV. 

  • Enables voltages up to 780 mV with ICBA:P3HT bulk heterojunction layers
  • Enables full open circuit voltage of ~580 mV with PCBM:P3HT bulk heterojunction layers
  • Can be processed with roll-to-roll manufacturing
  • Low cost, eliminates the need for screen-printed silver
Applications and Industries
  • Organic PV
  • Building-Integrated Photovoltaics
  • Solar Cells
More Information

For more information on the status of this provisional patent application, please contact Bill Hadley.

Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
ROI 16-106PrototypeAvailable05/18/201705/18/2017

Contact NREL About This Technology

To: Bill Hadley<>