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Research aims at longer lifetime for organic solar cells

April 19th, 2009 by kalyan89 in Press Releases, Reports, PV Industry - Europe, R&D reports

by Christoph Hammerschmidt, EE Times Europe
MUNICH, Germany, 9 April 2009

Solar cells currently have two weak points: Efficiency and operational lifetime. While dozens of research teams pursuit the task to improve the conversion efficiency, almost nobody seemed to be interested in the operational lifetime topic. Now this has changed; IMEC partners with Cytec Industries to develop PV devices with extended lifetime.

IMEC, the Belgian inter-university research institute has joined forces with the chemicals and materials experts from Cytec Industries (West Paterson, USA). Together they will conduct research aiming at designing solar cells which not only feature longer lifetime, but are commercially viable as well. The research focuses on organic materials, the target is an operational lifetime of at least five years.

The partners will approach this goal from two different sides: First, intrinsic stability issues of organic solar cells will be tackled by stabilizing the nanomorphology of the active material. Second, the ingress of intrinsic degradation sources such as oxygen or water vapor by developing an appropriate encapsulation technique.

The solutions will be based on Cytec’s competencies if interfacial engineering and coating technology, the research duo said in a press release. IMEC will contribute its experience in organic solar cell processing and analysis.  The project is co-sponsored by the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders. It will run for two years.