Centre for Plastic Electronics and Department of Physics, Imperial College London
Plastic semiconductor materials and their application in solar cells
March 20th, 2012
Plastic electronic materials, based on pi-conjugated molecules and polymers, are of intense interest currently for applications such as light emission, flexible thin film electronics and solar energy conversion. These materials are attractive because of the possibility to control optoelectronic properties through chemical design as well as the potential for low cost device manufacture using high volume processing. A major challenge is to develop a rational understanding of how the properties of the materials depend upon the chemical and physical structure of the materials. This goal has been partly realised through advances in material synthesis, characterisation techniques and modelling over the last ten years. Taking solar photovoltaic energy conversion as an example, we will discuss how improved understanding of materials and device function has raised the efficiency of organic solar cells to around 10%. Finally, we will consider the contribution that organic photovoltaic technology could make to solar power generation in the future.
Jenny Nelson is a Professor of Physics at Imperial College London, where she has researched novel varieties of material for use in solar cells since 1989. Her current research is focussed on understanding the properties of molecular semiconductor materials and their application to “plastic” solar cells. This work combines fundamental electrical, spectroscopic and structural studies of molecular electronic materials with numerical modelling and device studies, with the aim of optimising the performance of plastic solar cells. Since 2010 she has been working together with the Grantham Institute for Climate Change to explore the mitigation potential of photovoltaic, and other renewable, technologies. She has published over 200 articles in peer reviewed journals, several book chapters and a book on the physics of solar cells. In 2009 she was awarded the Institute of Physics Joule Prize and medal for her research.
This event is inserted within the vision of the International Year 2012 "Sustainable energy for all" and, in particular, aims at contributing to the dissemination of the third focus: double the share of renewable energies in global mix.
Politecnico di Milano promotes the dissemination of the principles inspiring the declaration of the Secretary General of the UN which underline the relevance of energy in promoting global and sustainable development.