Thin Film Flexible Photovoltaic Devices for Space Applications

Period of Performance: 10/05/2001 - 10/05/2002

$100K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Sponsored Programs 0170
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Institution POC

Abstract

In this STTR Phase I project we will employ a new technique applicable to the fabrication of flexible thin film photovoltaic devices for space applications. This technique is based on the ionically self-assembled monolayer (ISAM) methods of creating multifunctional thin-films monolayer by monolayer. These methods have been proven to yield self-assembled, electronically and photonically-active polymeric thin films. Luna Innovations demonstrated that the ISAM technique could be used to fabricate polymer light emitting diodes and electrochromic films. Photovoltaic devices are another important area of opportunity for conducting polymers used in combination with various electron acceptor materials. The precise spatial positioning of the electron acceptor and polymer layers using ISAM fabrication provides enhanced charge separation and photovoltaic response by orders of magnitude, comparable to that of silicon photodiode. ISAM polymer photovoltaic thin-films offer additional major advantages of excellent homogeneity, high mechanical, thermal and chemical stability, and low-cost. The films can be conformally fabricated over large areas on flexible substrates. The development of ISAM photovoltaic devices can result in high-efficiency and lightweight polymer solar cells. One could produce 10,000 m2 of active solar panels with a film thickness of the organic active layer of 100 nm using only 1 kg of organic material.ISAM polymer solar cells have immediate application in various commercial areas for inexpensive, lightweight, large area, flexible energy conversion devices in building structures, optical communications, consumer products, commercial electronics, as well as space applications.