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Efficient Polymer Solar Cells

Ames Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a process for producing more efficient polymer solar cells by increasing light absorption through a thin and uniform light-absorbing layer deposited on a textured substrate. 

Description

So-called first generation photovoltaic or solar cells are based on the use of crystalline silicon wafers.  While improvements in efficiency have been made with these types of solar cells, their high cost has driven research into materials that would be cheaper to use.  Second generation photovoltaic technologies with the potential to be more economical to manufacture include thin-film, organic (polymer or oligomer), and hybrid organic-inorganic cells.  Organic photovoltaics (OPV) have a number of advantages, including manufacturability (roll-to-roll processes on flexible substrates are possible), low-temperature processing, high optical absorption coefficients, and tunability. Unfortunately, OPVs suffer from low power conversion efficiencies, with 7% being among the highest documented experimentally.  Ames Laboratory researchers have developed this new process in order to address this problem.

Benefits

1.  Efficient (light trapping is more effective compared to flat solar cells without compromising electrical characteristics) 
2.  Economical (does not require extra processing steps or technically challenging coating technologies).

Applications and Industries

Solar cell manufacturing

More Information

An increase in power conversion efficiency of 20 percent compared to flat solar cells made from polymers, as well as an increase in light captured at the red/near infrared band edge of 100 percent over flat cells has been demonstrated experimentally, and Ames Lab is seeking partners interested in commercializing this technology.

Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
03847DevelopmentAvailable03/28/201103/04/2015

Contact AMES About This Technology

To: Stacy Joiner<joiner@ameslab.gov>