The Organic Photovoltaic Industry To Convene In Boston This October

This October, the Organic Photovoltaic industry’s leading experts unite in one spectacular educational program–offered exclusively at the 1st annual Organic Photovoltaics Summit USA.

Bringing together over 25 world leading speakers, and over 150 attendees, the event is a comprehensive line up of world leading and exclusive presentations, lively panel debates, and fantastic networking opportunities designed to educate attendees on the industry’s latest trends, innovations and opportunities.

The OPV 2009 Conference program brings together the foremost developers, researchers, academics, material providers and consultants. Who will address topics that range from efficiency updates and breakthroughs to how you can improve stability and lifetime, first markets and applications, as well as technological innovation, product updates and case studies. On top of this the summit provides delegates with fantastic networking opportunities includin
– Focused OPV exhibitio
– Networking drinks part
– Over 12 hours of dedicated networking tim
– Online networking pre-conference

Speaking companies include Plextronics, Konarka, Solarmer, NREL, Sandia labs, NIST, and IMEC among others. Registration for the event is still open and there are a limited number of seats currently available. For more information please email the organizers at josh(at)opvtoday(dot)com.

To visit the event website please go to

Organic solar cell

An organic photovoltaic cell (OPVC) is photovoltaic cell which uses organic electronic materials for light absorption and charge transport. Low cost, large scale production and flexibility of organic molecules make them appealing for the photovoltaic applications. Molecular engineering like changing the length and functional group of polymers can change the energy gap, which allows chemical tuning in these materials. The optical absorption coefficient of organic molecules is high, so a large amount of light can be absorbed with a small amount of materials. Main disadvantages associated with organic photovoltaic cells are low efficiency, low stability and low strength compared to inorganic photovoltaic cells.

Disadvantages associated with organic photovoltaic cells are their low quantum efficiency (~3%) and device degradation compared to inorganic photovoltaic devices. Real challenge in these materials is to increase the absorption efficiency which is a problem because of the large band gap of organic materials. Other important factors are charge transport and mobility, which are affected by the presence of impurities. Also the exciton diffusion length, charge separation and charge collection need to be taken into account. Moreover stability of the device against oxidation and reduction, recrystallization and temperature variations also needs to be considered.

Organic photovoltaic cells are shown to be attractive because of their unique properties and low cost. And it offers a great challenge in terms of optimization of material, processing and device design. Efficiency can be improved by using suitable processing route and fabrication techniques which at the end will give controlled hetero-junction, high absorption cross section, greater quantum efficiency and larger life-time of device. Introduction of new materials and to try combination of different materials to optimize the molecular design for these devices is highly desirable.

Development of Organic Photovoltaics

Scientists have known since 1906 that organic materials can turn light into electricity, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that researchers began using common organic dyes such as chlorophyll and methylene blue in photovoltaic devices. In the 1980s, work with polymers such as poly(sulfur nitride) began, and by 1986, a scientist at Eastman Kodak had made the breakthrough discovery that combining donor and acceptor materials in a single cell dramatically improved efficiency.

In the last two decades, new materials and more sophisticated architectures have advanced OPVs to the point that efficiencies exceeding 6 percent have been achieved, and 8-10 percent is likely within the next few years. Even more efficient are DSCs, hybrids that combine organometallic dyes and mesoporous inorganic oxides. Discovered in 1991, these devices have achieved efficiencies as high as 11 percent.

And what could be more accessible than light? Efficient solar cells, drawing on sunlight or even artificial light, could extend the time between charges, perhaps even indefinitely.

The idea isn’t new. Solar powered calculators have been available for decades. They require little power, however, and energy hogs like mobile phones present a more difficult problem.

An emerging technology, thin-film organic photovoltaics (OPVs) and dye-sensitized cells (DSCs) may be the solution. A host of companies is busily developing materials and intellectual property to establish themselves in this new market, from chemical giants such as BASF to highly focused start-ups such as Konarka and Plextronics.

Organic Photovoltaic Markets, a recent study by NanoMarkets, looks at the activities of these and many other companies to estimate the opportunity represented by these technologies.

Economical Advantages of Organic Photovoltaics

The efficiency of OPVs and DSCs compares poorly with silicon photovoltaics, which offer efficiencies over 20 percent, but other advantages, particularly low cost, flexibility and performance in low or variable light, make them competitive for a range of niche applications extending beyond portable electronics to building-integrated systems, signage, packaging and smart fabrics.

Organic photovoltaics are relatively cheap to fabricate using inexpensive, well-understood coating processes such as inkjet printing or spin coating on large, flexible substrates such as plastic. The flexible product is light, easy to install and versatile—for example, it might be rolled up for storage. And the nature of the photoactive materials themselves means OPVs and DSCs perform well in dim or variable light, unlike silicon.

Each of these characteristics is well suited to portable electronics. Being inexpensive, the new capability would not add prohibitively to the cost of the device, be it a mobile phone, mp3 player, laptop or another consumer device. Given their physical properties, the cells could be either laminated to the case or embedded in a flexible peripheral. The responsiveness of the cells would allow them to charge even indoors, an important consideration since portable electronics are not typically exposed to sunlight.