CEA-Liten announces first fully inkjet-manufactured flexible PV modules

OPV module with eight cells in series, fully manufactured by inkjet printing

The organic/hybrid printed photovoltaic field is growing and reaching the production scale, where the development of large area processes is urgently needed. To this aim, researchers from CEA-Liten, based at the French Institut National de l’Energie Solaire (INES), have developed a flexible organic photovoltaic module manufactured entirely by inkjet printing processes. It demonstrates a power conversion efficiency above 4% for high value, custom-made, solar devices.

These results represent the culmination of four years of efforts mainly directed towards the development of a printing platform with industrial print heads (up to 1024 nozzles), a printing process (in ambient air atmosphere) and a post-treatment of all layers, as well as the materials and multi-layer 3D structure optimisation. The process route has been optimised on an INES technology platform devoted to organic PV. The printed modules with a size of 15x10cm consist of eight individual cells in the form of stripes that are interconnected in series and able to produce an electrical output of 0,41W under a voltage of 3.8V. This represents a power conversion efficiency of 4.3% over the active area.

Inkjet printing is reported to enable the direct patterning of each layer without any mask, which leads to an enormous freedom of design. This technological breakthrough is expected to allow the development of fully custom-made printed PV modules covering a wide variety of variables including electrical characteristics, design, shape and colouration. 

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