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Organic Photovoltaics (PP2.2)

PP2.2 Organic Photovoltaics

Aims and objectives


This research theme will progress the development of organic photovoltaics (OPV) to target efficiencies of >20% made with benign and low-cost chemistry and with demonstrated scalability to be harnessed in a variety of emerging photovoltaic applications. Through these advances we will aim to achieve printed OPVs with carbon footprints of <10 CO2e/kWh, while also demonstrating low-cost recycling options


The efficiency of OPV devices has rapidly improved over the last 10 years. For bulk heterojunction devices, a number of research groups have now reported certified cell efficiencies of >18.0% and stability factors of 1000’s of hours. The efficiency reports are on small area devices made under laboratory conditions. It is interesting to note that while efficiency is clearly critical, the power generation over time is also an important metric. In common with silicon, OPV devices can generate electricity even at low incident light angles, leading to an enhanced window of electricity generation throughout the day. In contrast to silicon, OPV devices improve their efficiency with increasing temperature.

The challenge is combining the attributes of performance and lifetime in a product at commercial scales. Commercially available printed devices are appearing in the marketplace with efficiencies in the range of 8-10%. Heliatek have reported thermally evaporated OPVs can achieve certified carbon footprints of < 10 g CO2e/kWh, lower than any other PV technology in the market.

To date, OPVs have been commercially targeted at portable and conformable consumer applications. With continuing progress in scalability and enhancements in efficiencies and stability factors, broader adoption across various standard and emerging applications (PP6) will be achieved. To achieve this, key scientific challenges around low-cost and scalable production using printing approaches and new materials that provide high efficiency and stability need to be addressed. Critical to these developments will be a transition to environmentally benign components and processing conditions, as well as simplified single component materials.

Research Activities and Plans

Building on a strong track record in OPV, future OPV activities will leverage the existing physical infrastructure investment and embedded skills within the Australian partners, including the recently funded infrastructure. The facilities will deliver improved long-term integration from materials to large scale devices of the international and Australian communities. The work packages blend deliverables, feasible in 4 years, for advancing translation to printed solar cells, with opportunities for expansive, “over-the-horizon,” proof-of-principle, activities with a longer time horizon.

In addition, ACAP has provided, for the first time in Australia, a mechanism for exchange and collaboration between research partners working on traditional and emerging PV technologies, which has led to new funded programs and support for existing activities. The new program will support collaborations and synergies in the area of charge transport measurements, large area and continuous deposition, device degradation, tandem devices and singlet fission enhanced devices (including silicon).

To maximise the cooperation between partners we propose a program structured around work packages that address the key scientific challenges in the field. All ACAP partners have infrastructure that can contribute to each of the work packages.

Key outputs of the materials program will utilise the HT-PV-F facility for materials formulations and the CSIRO for processing routines for industrial role-to-role fabrication. Industrial partners will be identified and facilitated through the activities of the CSIRO. The activity will target OPV efficiencies of >20%.

Investigators: Dr. David Jones (UniMelb), Dr. Wallace Wong (UniMelb), Prof. Paul Burn (UQ), Dr Paul Shaw (UQ), Dr Doojin Vak (CSIRO), Dr Mei Gao (CSIRO).

PP2.2.1 Advanced Organic Semiconductors

PP2.2.2 Next Generation Organic Photovoltaic Devices and Characterisation

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