Over the last few years, worldwide research on organic solar cells has mainly focused on increasing the conversion efficiency. However, the operational lifetime of organic solar cells must be improved to extend beyond five years. This challenge is the basis of the collaboration between Cytec and IMEC.
First, intrinsic stability issues of organic solar cells will be tackled by stabilising the nanomorphology of the active material blend. IMEC has already shown that the photoactive blend of conjugated polymers and fullerene acceptor molecules is prone to phase segregation under the influence of time and temperature.
To halt this, IMEC and Cytec will join their knowledge in chemical synthesis and materials processing. Concurrently, the ingress of extrinsic degradation sources of oxygen and water vapour will be suppressed by the development of an appropriate barrier, encapsulation technology. The technology solutions will build on Cytec’s core competencies of interfacial engineering and coating technology and on IMEC’s background in organic solar cell processing and analysis.
The project, which is co-sponsored by the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders, will run for two years and will end in March, 2011.