Organic Solar Cells

Man-made global warming is a scientific fact creating arguably our biggest challenge now and in the coming decades. A key component of slowing and ultimately halting climate change is the provision of clean (non-fossil fuel) energy. The conversion of solar energy directly into electricity [photovoltaics (PV)] will play a major role in the future energy mix. On average 1 kJ of solar energy falls on the Earth's surface per m2 per second of every daylight hour. Capturing a proportion of this massive and reliable resource would make a dramatic effect on the world's energy use and supply. However, to realize this goal it will be necessary to produce large area, efficient solar cells cheaply. Solution processing techniques are ideal for manufacturing large area PV devices and this gives critical momentum to the development of solar cells based on solution processible organic semiconducting materials. At COPE we draw the complementary fields of synthetic chemistry and condensed matter physics together to develop new materials and device structures suitable for the preparation of solution processed, efficient, stable, large area plastic solar cells. The materials theme that underpins the program is the use of dendritic (branched macromolecular) materials and we are using these in dye sensitised and bulk heterojunction solar cells.