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Spectroscopic Method to Measure and Visualize Energetic Landscape of Solar Cells

Physicists from Heidelberg University have developed a new spectroscopic method that can help measure and visualize the energetic landscape within solar cells based on organic materials. The team of researchers was led by Prof. Dr Yana Vaynzof, a physicist at Heidelberg University.

This new visualization method allows the researchers to analyze the physical principles of organic photovoltaics with high precision and to gain better insights into processes like energetic losses.

Mapping our Earth’s landscapes was a necessary step for understanding the movement patterns and dynamics of people, animals and water, among other examples. Similarly, the movement of electric charges in a solar cell is determined by the energetic landscape within the device.

Prof. Vaynzof, Research Group Leader, Kirchhoff Institute for Physics, Heidelberg University

To date, it has been very difficult to visualize these energetic landscapes and only approximate estimation was used to analyze the basic processes in organic photovoltaic devices.

The spectroscopic technique designed by the scientists at Heidelberg University can be used for mapping the energetic landscape on the nanoscale and applying at any stage during the lifetime of a solar cell.

The strength of our method lies in its excellent resolution and great versatility”, stated Vincent Lami, member of Prof. Vaynzof’s team and study lead author. Prof. Vaynzof added that the current research could solve the main issue in the area of organic photovoltaics.

Without mapping the energetic landscapes, it is difficult to understand how and why devices lose energy in the process of converting light into electricity. Now we have a spectroscopic method that allows us to develop new generations of solar cells with reduced energy losses and improved performance,” stressed the scientist, who leads the “Organic Electronics” research group at the Kirchhoff Institute for Physics and works at the Centre for Advanced Materials of Heidelberg University.

The study is part of the ENERGYMAPS project, for which Prof. Vaynzof received financial support from the European Research Council (ERC) through an ERC Starting Grant. The findings of the study have been reported in Joule.


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