Science + Technology

UCLA researchers break new ground in plastic solar cell fabrication

Method opens new direction for future low-cost plastic electronic devices

Researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) have announced the invention of a new method for the fabrication of organic polymer solar cells. 
Completing a critical step towards the ultimate goal of low-cost polymer (plastic) solar cells, the team used an electronic-glue-based lamination process, combined with interface modification, to create a one-step method for semi-transparent polymer solar cell fabrication. The method eliminates the need for the expensive and time-consuming high-vacuum process used in fabrication, and the resulting device has the advantage of being low-cost and achieving high transparency for various applications.
As interest in solar energy has heated up, the search for an efficient, cheaper alternative to traditional silicon-based solar cells has also intensified. Polymer solar cells have attracted broad research interest because of their advantageous processing capability and their use in the formation of low-cost, flexible and large-area electronic devices. In addition, semi-transparent solar cells offer a number of advantages, including the ability to stack two cells with different bandwidth in order to absorb more light and achieve higher efficiency.
The new method was developed by Yang Yang, UCLA professor of materials science and engineering and a member of the CNSI, along with former UCLA graduate student Jinsong Huang and Gang Li, a UCLA research associate who is now with Solarmer Energy Inc. To speak with the researchers, contact Jennifer Marcus at (310) 267-4839 or
This research is financially supported by Solarmer Energy Inc. and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and by matching funds from a Discovery Grant from the University of California.
The research appears in January issue of the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Materials and is available at
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