A group of European scientists have made a technology breakthrough that paves the way towards to producing cheaper solar cells and LED lighting panels. Their discovery could be used to make commercial products already this year.
As part of the three-year, EU-funded research projected TREASORES, which stands for Transparent Electrodes for Large Area Large Scale Production of Organic Optoelectronic Devices, the scientists succeeded in developing flexible lighting foils that can be produced roll-to-roll, much like newspapers are printed.
According to the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), whose scientist Frank Nüesch led the project, such processing techniques can dramatically lower the costs of light sources and solar cells, but they require flexible and transparent electrodes and water impermeable barriers — which have also been developed by the TREASORES project.
These electrodes are as good as those currently in use in terms of technical ability but have the advantage that they are much cheaper to manufacture and do not rely on the import of indium, a rare metal.
The project’s findings have been extensively tested over the past three years and are now market ready. ”I am very much looking forward to seeing the first commercial products made using materials from the project in 2016,” says Nüesch.
TREASORES combined know-how from nine companies and six research institutes in five European countries. It was funded with EUR 9 million from the European Commission and an additional EUR 6 million from the project partners.
Image credit: Fraunhofer FEP