PROJECT PROFILE: University of Florida (PVRD-SIPS)

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Project Name: Single-Junction Organic Solar Cells with 15% Efficiency
Funding Opportunity: PVRD-SIPS
SETO Subprogram: Photovoltaics
Location: Gainesville, FL
Award Amount: $225,000
Awardee Cost Share: $25,000
Project Investigator: Jiangeng Xue

This project aims to direct the nanoscale morphology in a low band gap molecular absorber through hydrogen bonding. By controlling the nanoscale morphology, researchers can increase energy output in organic solar cells. Improving charge transport through the control of nanoscale morphology is a significant barrier for substantial increases in conversion efficiency in organic solar cells.

Approach

The research team will use tailored hydrogen bonding interactions, like those responsible for DNA base pairing, to create a fundamental change in how the organic photoactive molecules are organized into a three-dimensional structure, both in terms of molecular orientation and phase separation. The team has already demonstrated the viability of this approach using easy‐to‐synthesize organic material systems, which more than doubled the solar cell efficiencies. For this project, they will extend the approach to more efficient, state‐of‐the‐art organic chromophores with higher baseline performance.

Innovation

This project will improve device performance to cause a more than 50% increase in the power conversion efficiencies of single-junction organic solar cells, which would make this technology truly attractive for commercial development. Further opportunities in optimizing these materials and using tandem cell structures could lead to 20% or higher power conversion efficiencies in organic solar cells in the near future. Coupled with the low production cost of organic solar modules using roll‐to‐roll manufacturing processes, this project could bring the community closer to a levelized cost of energy of $0.06 per kilowatt hour.