X7852T5194 | Thin Film Solar Cell | Photovoltaics

Organic Photovoltaics Technologies, Markets & Players 2012-2022

both install the system and appropriately decommission it when it comes to the end of its useful life. This undertaking however requires that the company remains solvent for an indefinite duration, which is a risk.


Copper Indium Gallium Selenide
Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) technology holds the record efficiency amongst thin film PV technologies. Currently, the highest champion cell efficiency is 19.5%. CIGS technology has a direct bandgap which can be tuned from 1.02 eV to 1.65 eV by changing the gallium content (i.e., the higher the gallium content the higher the bandgap). Currently, production level CIGS offers 9-12% efficiency and long lifetimes.

Fig. 3.8

Applications of CIGS technology

Source Ascent Solar

Source Ascent Solar

Source Wurth Solar

CIGS PV devices are often fabricated using a high temperature process. The active channel can be sputtered or evaporated while the substrate is maintained at a high temperature (e.g., 500-600 C). The high temperature process results in a polycrystalline structure. CIGS can also be printed from an ink solution. This approach is being pursued by Nanosolar. Here too however, a high temperature annealing step (e.g., 400 C) is required to activate the channel.
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Organic Photovoltaics Technologies, Markets & Players 2012-2022

Fig. 3.3

Example of flexible a-Si PV

Source Flexcell

a-Si PV devices are made using plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD). This technology is commonplace in the LCD industry as it is used to manufacture the thin film transistor (TFT) backplane. The amorphous nature of active channel implies that the bandgap contains a large density of defect states. These states originate from structural disorder and the presence of dangling bonds, which are silicon bonds that are not terminated. These defect states act as recombination sites for the photogenerated electron-hole pairs, reducing carrier lifetime and mobility and thus degrading efficiency. a-Si PV devices suffer from an intrinsic light-induced instability mechanisms known as the “Staebler-Wronski” effect. As shown in the figure below, illumination decreases channel conductivity and reduces solar cell efficiency. This process can be reversed by annealing the active channel at a high temperature (e.g., 200 C) for several hours, but it remains permanent at room temperature due to the high activation energy. It is noted that this process adversely affects device performance within the first few days and that the effects levels off. The exact microscopic processes that give rise to this instability are still a topic of academic debate, but existing consensus suggests that light exposure increases the density of dangling bonds.

© IDTechEx Ltd


Organic Photovoltaics Technologies, Markets & Players 2012-2022

Fig. 3.41

Photovoltaics can be deployed in a range of different environments

© IDTechEx Ltd

Source IDTechEx

Organic Photovoltaics Technologies, Markets & Players 2012-2022


University of Surrey (UK)

Company Ownership University Company Description There a number of groups conducting research on OPVs across different departments at the University of Surrey. Our Comments IDTechEx interviews reveal the following points: (a) There is research on improving the absorption characteristics of OPVs. The research groups are achieving this by printing quantum dots on the top. The II-VI (and also III-V) quantum dots may enable absorption in the infrared region too due to quantum confinement effects. The dots are synthesized using wet chemistry. IDTechEx notes that while this is a promising development, price-points in the PV industry in 2012 are very demanding. (b) They are trying to replace C60 with Carbon Nanotubes in tranditional P3HT PCBM blends. The carbon nanotubes can also be employed as electrodes for replacing ITO.

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