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Materials

Supersized Polymer Solar Cells

Continuous printing method generates an array of 16,000 series-connected photovoltaic cells

by Mitch Jacoby
January 28, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 4

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Credit: Energy Technol. Commun.
This 260-foot-long array of 16,000 series-connected polymer solar cells was manufactured via a continuous printing method.
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Credit: Energy Technol. Commun.
This 260-foot-long array of 16,000 series-connected polymer solar cells was manufactured via a continuous printing method.

Organic solar cells made from inexpensive polymers and Earth-abundant materials hold the promise of capturing solar power in a low-cost and environmentally friendly way. But the standard methods by which organic solar cells are manufactured are onerous. Peter Sommer-Larsen, Frederik C. Krebs, and coworkers at Technical University of Denmark have demonstrated a large-scale method to print polymer solar cells that overcomes common limitations such as multiple manufacturing and assembly steps and poor device performance. By using a rapid, continuous roll-to-roll printing technique, the team made an exceptionally long string (roughly 260 feet) of 16,000 polymer solar cells connected in series (Energy Technol. Commun., DOI: 10.1002/ente.201200055). Tests show that the multilayer device, which is free of indium tin oxide, an expensive electrode material commonly used in organic electronic devices, produced a stable output voltage of 8.2 kV. That value exceeds by far the hundreds of volts of standard photovoltaic modules and is key to maximizing the flow of current.

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Comments
Eric Shen (January 28, 2013 3:19 PM)
Very pretty! Any word on where this array is physically located, and if it's being used to power anything?

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