Summer 2012 Intern Project- Rachel Harris

INVESTIGATING DEGRADATION IN POLYMER SOLAR CELLS


Rachel Harris
UC Santa Barbara

Mentor: Chris Liman
Faculty Advisor: Michael Chabynic
Department: Materials

Performance degradation is a common problem faced by polymer photovoltaic cells. It is necessary to understand the origins of degradation processes in order to relieve the issue and increase the technology’s potential for becoming a viable renewable energy resource. In this study, organic photovoltaic devices were fabricated and tested once a day over a time span of a few days. The fabricated cells used a bulk-heterojunction active layer, consisting of polymer poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and [6,6]-phenyl-C61 butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM).  Details of the fabrication process were altered between sets of samples, specifically those relating to the applications of the active layer and the aluminum electrode.  Samples were tested using a solar simulator and the resulting current density versus voltage response was observed. It was found that the series resistance increased with the number of days since the aluminum electrode was applied. 

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