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”.