Methods to Improve the Reliability of Organic Photovoltaic Solar Cells

Reference#: P03122

Among the many different photovoltaic technologies (crystalline silicon, thin film, dye-sensitized cells, etc.), organic polymer photovoltaic (OPV) solar cells are particularly interesting because of their low cost, ease of manufacturing, light weight, and flexibility. However, OPV solar cells have a very short lifetime compared to their crystalline silicon counterparts because of chemical and physical degradation of the active donor/acceptor layer. The main cause of the degradation of OPV solar cells is oxidation of the active polymer layer. Oxidation will normally increase the contact resistance between the active layer and the electrode, which will, in turn, reduce the cellís efficiency as well as its lifetime. This oxidation can be accelerated under light exposure when the cell is generating power.

APL scientists have created a flexible, easy-to-manufacture, low-cost polymer film that combines oxygen/moisture scavengers with passive barrier properties to improve the reliability of OPV devices without resorting to non-flexible encapsulants or overly complicated fabrication technology. It is a passive moisture protection barrier that increases the lifetime of electronic materials. This technology can also be used as a scavenger of chemical traces of environmental hazards (i.e., CO2, mercury, benzene) and as a marker of the level of organic degradation due to oxidation or chemical contamination (i.e., food packaging).

Patent Status: U.S. patents pending.

Dr. G. R. Jacobovitz
Phone: (443) 778-9899