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Revolutionizing Understanding of Organic Solar Cell Degradation to Design Novel Stable Materials (SolarRevolution)
Start date: May 6, 2013, End date: May 5, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

SolarRevolution aims to revolutionise the understanding of bulk-heterojunction organic solar cell (OSC) degradation by developing a detailed knowledge of the chemical and physical processes involved. This knowledge will be applied to the rational design of novel materials to give OSCs 20-year lifetimes and allow mass-market uptake of this low-cost, low-energy-footprint, transparent, lightweight and flexible technology. Quantum-chemical modelling of degradation mechanisms will provide detailed and experimentally-inaccessible insight. This will dramatically enhance the clarity and robustness of experimental conclusions, leading to a deeper understanding of OSC degradation. Diffusion of oxygen into OSCs and the subsequent photochemical reactions represent the dominant source of degradation of the photo-active layer. Quantum-chemical calculations will characterise the chemical species and photochemical reactions involved in degradation. Semiclassical models will reveal how degraded materials impact exciton and polaron dynamics, and hence OSC efficiency. Finally, our new understanding of degradation will be exploited in the design and in-silico screening of novel materials for stable OSCs. Close collaborative links with leading academic and industrial groups will be forged via host-participation in the pan-European OSC research project Establis (FP7-ITN-290022). Two-way knowledge-transfer under strict IP control will: i) provide SolarRevolution with state-of-the-art materials and experimental data, and ii) allow hypotheses and novel material designs generated by SolarRevolution to be experimentally verified and industrially trialled. This will ensure that SolarRevolution will be well-positioned to contribute to high-impact publications and patent filings, raising Europe’s profile in OSC research and establishing the fellow, Michael Wykes, as a leading researcher in the field.
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