Materials Science

Plastic Solar Cells? Challenges and Opportunities using New Materials for Photovoltaics
David Ginger, University of Washington

Meeting the energy needs of the world's growing population in an environmentally and geopolitically sustainable fashion is one of the most important scientific challenges facing society today. The sheer magnitude of our energy consumption demands that a significant portion of our energy will need to come from solar power in the coming decades. Unfortunately, electricity from solar photovoltaics is currently ~10 times more expensive than electricity generated from conventional non-renewable resources such as coal. Despite the rapid commercial growth in this sector, it isn't yet clear that the manufacturing and materials requirements for many existing photovoltaic technologies can be brought online on the scale and timeframe needed to displace non-renewable sources. One class of materials with the potential for rapid low-cost, low-energy production are organic and polymeric semiconductors. However, these materials have their own limitations in performance and stability that need to be overcome. In this talk I will provide a brief overview of organic electronics, and the challenges and opportunities for developing polymer solar cells.

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Materials Science

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