Science + Technology

UCLA researchers break new ground in plastic solar cell fabrication

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

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UCLA RESEARCH ALERT
 
FINDINGS:
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.
 
IMPACT:
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.
 
AUTHORS:
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 jmarcus@cnsi.ucla.edu.
 
FUNDING:
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.
 
JOURNAL:
The research appears in January issue of the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Materials and is available at www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/117881983/ABSTRACT?C.
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