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Posted: Sep 01, 2008

IMEC and Plextronics collaborate on high-efficiency reproducible organic solar cells

(Nanowerk News) IMEC, 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) in Colorado.
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.
About IMEC
IMEC is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. IMEC vzw is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, has a sister company in the Netherlands, IMEC-NL, offices in the US, China and Taiwan, and representatives in Japan. Its staff of more than 1600 people includes more than 500 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2007, its revenue (P&L) was EUR 244.5 million.
IMEC's More Moore research aims at semiconductor scaling towards sub-32nm nodes. With its More than Moore research, IMEC looks into technologies for nomadic embedded systems, wireless autonomous transducer solutions, biomedical electronics, photovoltaics, organic electronics and GaN power electronics.
IMEC's research bridges the gap between fundamental research at universities and technology development in industry. Its unique balance of processing and system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure and its strong network worldwide position IMEC as a key partner for shaping technologies for future systems. Further information on IMEC can be found at www.imec.be.
About Plextronics
Plextronics, Inc. is an international technology company that specializes in printed solar, lighting and other organic electronics. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA., the company's focus is on organic solar cell and organic light emitting diodes (OLED), specifically the conductive inks and process technologies that enable those and similar applications. With a vision of enabling 15 billion printed electronic devices by 2015, Plextronics is creating technology capable of commercial-scale manufacturability and performance. The company's device design, process technology and Plexcore® branded inks enable the formation of active electrical layers — the key drivers of printed electronics.
Source: Imec (press release)
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