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Organic Photovoltaics

Belonging to the so called "third generation photovoltaics", Organic PhotoVoltaics (OPV) technology relates to a family of systems based on organic molecules and/or polymers for the conversion of solar energy into electric power. Since OPV devices are generally built on a polymeric substrate, they are often referred to as plastic solar cells.

Currently, a number of research groups are focused on the development of new materials for OPV. Also from the industrial point of view the OPV field is gaining increasing interest, and a few examples of applications can be found as working prototipes or even in the market.

Most common materials found in OPV devices are based on semiconducting polymers and fullerene derivatives. Very recently, Carbon Nanotubes have been also considered as a potentially useful material to improve performances and durability of this kind of solar cells. For detailed scientific info about carbon nanotubes and organic solar cells see the following article:
Energy Environ. Sci., 2012, 5, 5919-5940cover

Scientific and technical info about non conventional photovoltaics and solar cells in general can be found at NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory).
NREL has strong complementary research capabilities in OPV cells, transparent conducting oxides (TCOs), combinatorial (combi) methods, and atmospheric processing. From fundamental physical studies to applied research relating to solar industry needs, we are developing the new materials, device structures, and tools needed to create polymer-based solar cells that are flexible, lightweight, and inexpensive.

Most OPV devices are based on bulk heterojunction materials.



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