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Dr Simon Pope Awarded an EPSRC grant

1 June 2010

The EPSRC are funding (£140k) a joint project between the Schools of Chemistry and Physics into the development of novel hybrid materials for improved photovoltaic device efficiencies. Principal investigator Dr Simon Pope (School of Chemistry) will collaborate with Drs Emyr Macdonald and Martin Elliott  (School of Physics and Astronomy) with additional input from Fusion IP.

The external power efficiencies of highly flexible, organic polymer-based photovoltaics have increased dramatically from sub-1% in the mid-90s, up to around 6% currently. However, the efficiency of the P3HT/PCBM system is limited by the relatively large band-gap of P3HT (poly-3-hexylthiophene), which renders the optical absorption inefficient at the red end of the solar spectrum. We are developing an approach using hybrid structures to increase the local electric field and to enhance optical absorption characteristics of these polymers. These hybrid materials will be used to fabricate prototype photovoltaic devices allowing an assessment of the power conversion (solar-to-electricity) efficiencies. In the first instance, we hope to develop photovoltaic devices with efficiencies greater than 6 %, comparing favourably with the market leaders. This will allow further capital investment to be sought with the long-term aim of larger scale applications being realised once efficiencies reach 9-10 %.