X-ray diffraction makes it possible to follow the evolution of the interfaces between the different components of the solar cell. Source: H.F. Dam et al., Adv. Energy Mat. 5, 1400736 (2014).

Polymer solar cells to get an in-depth view

Monday 15 Feb 16


Jens Wenzel Andreasen
DTU Energy
+45 46 77 47 02

About the project

Every year ERC awards a number of grants to the best and most innovative researchers in Europe. The projects are exclusively granted on the basis of the scientific merits of the applicant and the project. The project SEEWHI – Solar Energy Enabled for the World by High-resolution Imaging, led by senior researcher Jens Wenzel Andreasen, has a duration of five years and will make it possible to hire six PhD students and three postdocs.
Researcher from DTU Energy receives large grant from the European Research Council to investigate the connection between the nanostructure of polymer solar cells and their performance.

Senior researcher Jens Wenzel Andreasen from DTU Energy has received a €2 million Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for a project which will investigate how the performance of a polymer solar cell depends on its structure all the way down to the nanoscale. This will be done by advanced X-ray tomography which allows the determination of the 3D structure of the solar cells

Polymer solar cells consist of a number of active layers which are deposited on a carrier foil using roll-to-roll methods similar to those used in the printing industry. This is a fast and cheap manufacturing process. However, the very speed of the process also makes it difficult to investigate the formation and the structure of the interfaces of the active layers. This is information which is crucial to the performance and durability of the solar cells. Until now it has only been possible to investigate the structure of the cells after they were manufactured, but in the new project Jens Wenzel Andreasen will develop new X-ray diffraction methods which allow the development of the interfaces at the nanoscale to be followed while they are being created in the printing process. The knowledge to be obtained in this way will be combined with comprehensive 3D models for the creation and transport of the charge created in the solar cell by solar irradiation. The aim is to be able to optimize the efficiency of the mass-produced solar cells significantly. In that connection Jens Wenzel Andreasen states: “The grant from ERC is a fantastic opportunity to get deeper into the understanding of the processes occurring in polymer solar cells. I am proud that my project has been granted in competition with the best researchers of Europe. It is a significant recognition, not only of my own work but also of the large effort that has been made by the entire group working on polymer solar cells at DTU Energy over the past ten years and more.”

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