Imec, Plextronics and Solvay teamed together on an organic polymer-based single junction solar cell with 6.9% performance in an innovative inverted device stack. New levels of cell efficiency were achieved by combining imec’s scalable inverted device architecture and Plextronics’ polymers. The polymer was also integrated into a module resulting in excellent module level efficiencies of 5% for an aperture area of 25cm2.
Organic solar cells are regarded as an emerging technology to become one of the low-cost thin-film alternatives to the current dominating silicon photovoltaic technology, due to their intrinsic potential for low-cost processing (high-speed and at low temperature). Inverted architectures are developed to extend the lifetime of organic solar cells, an investigation which is currently ongoing for this new architecture.
The dedicated inverted bulk heterojunction architecture developed by imec improved the device performance by at least 0.5% over standard architectures used for organic solar cells. In the active layer, a new buffer layer was introduced to optimize the light management in the device. Imec’s innovative device architecture, combined with Plextronics’ low band-gap p-type polymer with a fullerene derivate, resulted in a stabilized certified conversion efficiency of 6.9%, which is the highest performance obtained for this polymer material and the highest efficiency reported for inverted architectures. In this new inverted device architecture, similar performance boosts have also been achieved for other polymer materials. The module level efficiencies confirm the suitability towards upscaling.
Organic Solar Cell Research Highlights
- Organic polymer-based single junction solar cell with 6.9% performance
- Combines imec’s scalable inverted device architecture and Plextronics’ polymers
- Module level efficiencies of 5% for an aperture area of 25cm2 was achieved by integrating polymer
- Research primes organic photovoltaic technology for market introduction
- Multi-junction with different layers of different polymers each capturing another part of the light spectrum can result in organic solar cell lifetimes of over 10 years and conversion efficiencies of 10% in two to three years
- Organic photovoltaics may boost efficiency and lifetime at a reduced cost price