A Pohang University of Science and Technology research team led by chemical engineering professors Cho Kil-won, Kim Min, and Park Jong-hwan have developed a vertical organic solar cell production technique that produces a solar cell with much-improved flexibility and great endurance to repeated bending.
The organic solar cell uses a flexible organic material as a photo-active material, and thus can be produced via a simple process like printing. When the supporting substrate is plastic, the cell can be bent and applied to wall-mounted film-type batteries or wearables.
Traditionally, substrates, electrodes, and photo-active layers are stacked in solar cells. This stack cannot be bent or folded due to the stiffness of the substrates and electrode materials.
However, the team came up with a novel, horizontal structure that includes semiconductor nanowires. Its new solar cell has only one layer and can maintain photoelectric efficiency even after being bent thousands of times. Because the sunlight directly reaches the photo-active layer, a light-collecting transparent substrate is inessential.
Details of the research can be found in the March 4, 2015 issue of Advanced Energy Materials as the cover picture.