Organic solar cells form an emerging class of solar cells having the advantages of being mechanically flexible, allowing for low cost fabrication and having low weight compared to their inorganic counterparts. State-of-the-art organic solar cells are thin-film (typically 100-300 nm thick) solar cells using a bulk donor-acceptor heterojunction concept which is based on blends of two organic compounds one with donor-character, the other with acceptor properties. Organic solar cells can be deposited by using a solution of soluble derivatives of fullerenes and conjugated polymers, and are therefore a key example of printable electronics.
The most crucial issues that are being addressed in this field are improvement of performance and improvement of stability. Furthermore, as production of organic photovoltaic devices aims at low cost, large surfaces, mass production processing techniques, the use of environmentally friendly solvent systems is an additional prerequisite for substantial energy production using organic photovoltaics.
At IMO-IMOMEC these issues are being addressed by an intimate collaboration of the OBPC-group with the ONE-group. The OBPC-group focuses on the synthesis of organic and polymeric materials with new electrical conductive and/or special optical properties. The ONE-group studies the underlying photovoltaic mechanisms with advanced characterization techniques and the occurring degradation mechanisms (cfr. reliability of photovoltaic devices).