Danish-Chinese Center for Organic based Photovoltaic Cells with Morphology Control was established September 2010 as a cooperation between Zhejiang University and Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Science in China and Aalborg University and DTU Energy Conversion in Denmark. The first three year period will end in September 2013.
A new three-year period has been granted from October 2013. The Center members are now affiliated to Zhejiang University, Peking University, Aalborg University and DTU.
The Sun is a virtually inexhaustible source of energy and certainly part of the answer to the major challenge of providing the world's population with sustainable energy in the future. Mankind, however, has not yet found ways to utilize solar energy efficiently, and today it offers only a limited contribution to our overall energy consumption.
Exiting solar cells based on crystalline silicon have been in existence for more than 50 years, and the technology offers in practice efficiencies of up to 15-20 %, but at a fairly high price. It has taken decades slowly to bring the price down. A clear goal is < 1 € per Watt, a goal which for crystalline silicon-based solar cells still has a long way to go. Alternatively it is possible to think in terms of completely new types of solar cells which fundamentally break with the costly manufacturing methods of the traditional solar cells.
In this context organic based solar cells have the advantage of low-temperature, vacuum free, low-cost, large area, solution-based manufacturing via different printing and coating techniques and allowing the use of flexible substrates. During the last decades bulk heterojunction solar cells based on a donor and acceptor material have been widely studied and efficiencies up to 3.5 % have been obtained for solar cells based on P3HT (poly(3-hexylthiophene)) as electron donor and PCBM (1-(3-methoxycarbonyl)-propyl-1-phenyl-(6,6)-C61) as electron acceptor. Recently solar cells based on low band gap polymers as electron donor materials have been studied widely and the efficiency is starting to increase. But still, the criterion of efficiency presently limits the commercialization of the organic-based solar cells.
Work in The Danish-Chinese Center aims at improving materials for, and fabrication of polymer solar cells. Within the Center Danish and Chinese research institutions and universities collaborate to reach these objectives. Foundation of the Center provides the opportunity to establish extended and long lasting cooperation between Danish and Chinese research within the field of solar cells.
The high efficiency of organic photovoltaic devices (OPV) based on a given set of materials depends mainly on two mechanisms: 1) charge separation and 2) charge transport. These two mechanisms are influenced by the morphology of the active layer, thus it is of great importance to be able to control the morphology to ensure high effiency. The primary objective of the Danish-Chinese Center for Organic-based Photovoltaics with Morphological Control (DCOPV) is to study different methods to control and probe the nano-morphology of the active layer in organic and hybrid photovoltaics during and after manufacture.