Ink Jet Print Self-Assembly of Polymer Thin Film Solar Cells on Polyimide Substrates
Department of Defense
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Small Business Information
P.O. Box 618, Christiansburg, VA, 24068
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Air Force Phase I SBIR program would demonstrate the feasibility of ink jet print electrostatic self-assembly (ESA) processes for the low-cost fabrication of flexible photovoltaic arrays directly on polyimide substrates. ESA processing involves thecoating of substrate materials by the alternate adsorption of anionic and cationic complexes of polymers, metallic nanoclusters and other molecules from water-based solutions at room temperature and pressure. By controlling the molecules deposited in eachmonolayer of the resulting multilayer thin film, optoelectronic devices with high efficiency may be formed. Specifically, photon-to-electron conversion with high quantum efficiency can be achieved in layer-by-layer polymer dye/nanocrystallinesemiconductor films, due to the high effective inter-particle surface contact area at the molecular level, and by using metal nanocluster/poly-dye multilayers to enhance optical absorbance. NanoSonic's recent work in this area, in cooperation with a largeU.S. aerospace contractor, has demonstrated such high quantum efficiencies in ESA-fabricated devices, and the ability to form such functional thin films as coatings on mechanically flexible substrates. During Phase I, NanoSonic would work with thatcompany to demonstrate the ability to reproducibly form deployable photovoltaic arrays on polyimide substrate materials, and investigate methods to improve quantum efficiency, fabricate electrode interconnections and implement effective devicepackaging.Photovoltaic arrays that may be integrated directly with space qualified materials offer unique opportunities for electrical power generation for both military and commercial applications. Easily-deployed power generating materials would reducethe need for batteries and for separate mechanically rigid solar cell arrays in space-based and terrestrial portable and mobile platforms. Low-cost processing methods such as ink jet print self-assembly at room temperature would allow cost-effective powergeneration.
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