Verified: Heliatek organic solar cell achieves record 12% efficiency

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Heliatek has achieved a record 12% conversion efficiency in its organic PV (OPV) cells using a vacuum-deposition process.

The record has been verified by accredited testing facility SGS and beats the Heliatek’s previous, hitherto unbroken record of 10.7%.

According to the company the record-setting organic solar cell was fabricated using a 1.1 cm² cell size that combined two patented absorber materials, converting at two different wavelengths.

High temperature operation of the OPV cell, coupled to its low light capturing capabilities was said to be comparable to about 14% to 15% efficiency for traditional crystalline silicon and thin film technologies.

Thibaud Le Séguillon, CEO of Heliatek said: “Our continuous progress comforts us in our ability to reach 15% efficiency by 2015 and gradually transfer our record efficiencies into Heliatek’s roll-to-roll production line. We manufacture solar films and not solar panels. Our customers in the building and construction material industry, in automotive and in light structures, such as shading and street furniture, are integrating these solar films as energy harvesting components to increase the functionality of their products.”

Dr. Martin Pfeiffer, co-founder and CTO of Heliatek, added: “Achieving an unprecedented 12% OPV efficiency is a clear validation of Heliatek’s choice not to focus on printed polymers but to go with vacuum deposited oligomers. This technology has been used successfully for OLED displays over the last decade. Vacuum deposition allows for extremely thin yet homogeneous layers down to 5 nm – that is only one ten thousandth of a human hair or twice the size of a strand of a human DNA. With this well-controlled, ultra-thin film process we can deposit a large number of layers on top of each other creating tandem, or even triple junction cells, to absorb a broader spectrum of light.”

Heliatek also noted that one of the absorbers was developed and synthesized by Ulm University’s Institute of Organic Chemistry II and Advanced Materials, headed by Prof. Peter Bäuerle, co-founder of Heliatek.

Films being developed by Heliatek are expected to be commercialised in late 2013, which are expected to be supported by a new round of financing targeted at €60 million for the equipping of a new roll-to-roll volume production line in Germany.

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