SMTA International Conference Proceedings


Authors: Joseph Weiss, Peter Kariuki, Jasper Chiguma, Jessica Gendron, Babak Arfaei, Peter Borgesen, and Wayne Jones
Company: Binghamton University
Date Published: 10/24/2010   Conference: SMTA International

Abstract: One of the greatest barriers to widespread adoption of solar cells is the high cost of producing and installing panels. Fabrication of standard silicon-based cells is a costly and energy intensive process because of material cost, low production volume, and the use of vacuum based steps. We target each of these concerns with the roll-to-roll (R2R) production of flexible hybrid solar cells. By employing both organic and inorganic semiconductors, we take advantage of the low materials cost and easy processing of organic photovoltaics, while attaining the high photoconductivity and band gap tunability available from inorganic semiconductors. The use of flex minimizes overall panel weight, a major cost factor for installations, and allows for the high throughputs only really achievable in R2R manufacturing.

Test cells were produced by spin coating and subsequent scale-up to R2R compatibility was achieved by redesign and transitioning to stencil printing, screen printing, or slot die coating. Systematic process development, including optimization of wetting behavior through surface treatment and adaptation of material rheology, was employed for each approach before comparing them. Manufacturability and efficiency were balanced through the design of cells as parallel stripes, deposited in a staggered fashion to provide for serial connection. Special consideration is given to the compatibility of a manufacturing approach with the need for rapid protection of newly produced cells by lamination. The performances of cells produced in various experiments were also tracked over time to account for relative reliability. Preliminary results are presented and the strengths and limitations of alternative approaches to manufacturing are discussed.

Key words: flexible electronics, solar cells, solution coating

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