PhD candidate: Uyxing VONGSAYSY

Date and place of defence: November 25, 2014 - University of Bordeaux, France.

The depleting traditional energy resources and environmental pressures have made it critical, for our survival and global socio economic growth, to develop alternative energy resources that are green, renewable and cheap. At 1x105 TW, the sun provides the earth with enough energy that well surpasses our global energy needs, making solar energy, by far, the largest renewable energy source. Use of solar energy remains nevertheless exceedingly limited due to the high manufacturing cost of traditional photovoltaic devices. The emerging technology of organic photovoltaics (OPVs) promises a breakthrough in solar energy utilization, as it has the potential to enable very low cost photovoltaic device manufacturing via cheap solution coating techniques. For this breakthrough to be realized however, OPV efficiency must be increased from the current ~5-6% to >9%.

In this project, we will pursue increasing OPV efficiency and technological feasibility by conducting investigations along three thrusts: (1) Donor/Acceptor bulk heterojunction morphology: Investigating the parameters (solvents, additives, active molecules, process conditions…) that impact the morphology and the properties of the bulk heterojunction blends;(2) Novel Donor/Acceptor systems: Investigating new materials that absorb in the near infra-red range to expand the harvesting range hence efficiency of OPVs; and (3) OPV Device Integration; utilizing the newly developed materials, formulations and fabrication techniques. In these investigations, many “home made” setups will be designed and utilized (process intensive techniques…). Several nanoscale and spectroscopic facilities will be used to probe the properties of model cells and compounds (AFM, TEM, DRX, Raman, IR…).

Project Partners

UB1 - ISM (Institute for molecular science, Bordeaux): Nanoscale and spectroscopic characterizations (AFM, SNOM, …), polymer synthesis

UW - WIN (Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology): Organic electronic device fabrication and testing

Rhodia Laboratoire du Futur, Bordeaux: High throughtput formulation methods (based on microfluidics and robotic platform) and “end user” partner