IMEC, Cytec aim to increase organic PV lifetimes

April 23, 2009 – European R&D consortium IMEC and chemicals/materials supplier Cytec Industries are collaborating to develop “a commercially viable” technology for organic photovoltaic devices that’s more stable and longer-life technology.

The project will take two approaches, addressing intrinsic and extrinsic problems. First: address stability issues in the nanomorphology of active materials. Work on chemical synthesis and materials processing will seek to halt the phase segregation to which a photoactive blend of conjugated polymers and fullerene acceptor molecules is susceptible. The second focus of the joint work will be to develop a new barrier/encapsulation technology to prevent the ingress of oxygen and water vapor.

The project, combining IMEC’s background in organic solar cell processing and analysis and Cytec’s know-how in interfacial engineering and coating technology, will run for two years (through March 2011), co-sponsored by the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders.

“We are convinced that Cytec’s capabilities in coatings, adhesives, inks and energy curing technology combined with IMEC’s outstanding processing and technology capabilities will make this project a success,” said Martin Court, VP of R&D for Cytec’s specialty chemicals unit, in a statement.

“Organic solar cell technology is one of the most exciting emerging technologies for low-cost photovoltaic cells,” added Jef Poortmans, IMEC’s program director for photovoltaics. “IMEC is very pleased to have the opportunity to combine its process technology expertise with the excellent skills of Cytec in the field of synthesis and coatings to address the crucial issue of device stability and encapsulation.”

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