IIT Researchers Say Organic Solar Cell Turns Steel Roof into a Power Source

The multilayer electrode device showed 1.5X performance boost

December 26, 2022


Researchers at IIT Kanpur said they have developed organic solar cells consisting of a combination of an organic polymer and PCBM — an organic semiconductor — on steel substrates that can possibly convert a steel roof into an energy-producing device.

The researchers developed the devices by using the organic polymer PTB7 as a donor and PCBM as an acceptor. The devices were fabricated on opaque steel substrates with a MoO3/Au/MoO3 top electrode.

The research carried out at the laboratory of Ashish Garg at IIT Kanpur demonstrated the integration of multi-layered electrodes of configuration MoO3/Au/MoO3 with the organic solar cells.

The team identified that these electrodes offered higher optical transmission as compared to only metallic electrodes.

The devices with multilayer electrodes showed an improvement in the photovoltaic performance by 1.5 times, as compared with those obtained with single-layer top metal electrodes of gold, the researchers said.

Performance of an organic solar cell device with MoO3 capping in a multi-layered electrode configuration

The team said the potential of third-generation solar cell technologies lies in their integration with flexible and conformal surfaces. However, this integration requires developing new top transparent conducting electrodes as alternatives to indium tin oxide.

Indium tin oxide is applied mainly as a film to create transparent conductive coatings in the optoelectronic industry. This is currently popular in use but poses limitations because of its brittleness and variability in efficiency depending on the temperature.

The materials and device fabrication of perovskite and organic solar cells took place in the Class 10000 clean room facility at IIT Kanpur which was funded by the Department of Science and Technology under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Recently, IIT Kanpur-backed floating solution provider Acquafront Infrastructure developed ‘i-Ghat,’ a futuristic project to power boats with solar energy instead of diesel at Kada Ghat, Kaushambi, in Uttar Pradesh.

Earlier in the month, researchers at IIT Madras claimed to have developed an energy converter that can generate electricity from sea waves. Trials were completed successfully in the second week of November.

Image: Ministry of Science and Technology