New Record for Organic Solar Cells Today, Solar-Powered Car Tomorrow

by Woodson Powell

German solar company Heliatek has officially set the new world record for organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells with a conversion efficiency of 13.2%, as confirmed by Fraunhofer CSP [http://www.heliatek.com/en/press/press-releases/details/heliatek-sets-new-organic-photovoltaic-world-record-efficiency-of-13-2]. Conversion efficiency refers to direct conversion of sunlight into electricity. The company’s end goal is 15%, but this is a big leap forward. With this progress, Heliatek CEO Thibaude Le Séguillon has said that the company is looking forward to the possibility of future cars being covered in solar coatings, enabling drivers to charge their cars while they are on the road, either behind the wheel, or parked. For the moment, Heliatek is working on replacing sun roofs with OPV cell windows. Continue reading

Efficient Tandem and Triple-Junction Polymer Solar Cells

by Allison Kerley

In response to current interest in organic solar cells, W. Li et al. investigated the effectiveness of a new small band gap semiconducting polymer, PMDPP3T, in single, tandem and triple junction solar cells. In single-junction cells PMDPP3T was found to have an external quantum efficiency (EQE) of up to 7.0% when mixed with [70]PCBM. In single-junction solar cells, PMDPP3T was found to absorb radiation closer to the infrared light spectrum than current polymer, absorbing up to 960nm. In multi-junction solar cells, it was found that all solar cells utilizing PMDPP3 in conjunction with PCDTBT, reached efficiencies between 8.4% and 8.9%. In addition, W. Li et al. also found that tandem and triple-junction solar cells, compared to single-junction solar cells of the same layer thickness, were 50-60% more efficient.

Li, W., Furlan, A., Hendriks, K.H., Wienk, M.M., Janssen, R.A., 2013. Efficient tandem and triple-junction polymer solar cells. Journal of the American Chemical Society 135, 5529-5532. http://goo.gl/5eu8U1

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