Cytec Industries Inc. and IMEC,
Europe's leading independent nanoelectronics research institute will work
together to develop a commercially viable technology for organic photovoltaic
devices with enhanced stability and extended lifetime.
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 5 years. This challenge
is the basis of the collaboration between Cytec and IMEC.
To reach this goal the project will be approached from two different angles.
First, intrinsic stability issues of organic solar cells will be tackled by
stabilizing the nanomorphology of the active material blend. IMEC has already
shown that the photo-active 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 expertise in chemical synthesis
and materials processing. Concurrently, the ingress of extrinsic degradation
sources of oxygen and water vapor 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.
Cytec’s Specialty Chemicals Vice President of R&D, Martin Court,
said: “Cytec is very pleased to have the opportunity to work on this project
together with IMEC. We are convinced that Cytec’s capabilities in coatings,
adhesives, inks and energy curing technology combined with IMEC’s outstanding
processing and technology capabilities will make this project a success.”
IMEC’s Program Director Photovoltaics, Jef Poortmans, added: “Organic
solar cell technology is one of the most exciting emerging technologies for
low-cost photovoltaic cells. IMEC is very pleased to have the opportunity to
combine its process technology expertise with the excellent skills of Cytec
in the field of synthesis and coatings to address the crucial issue of device
stability and encapsulation”.