New organic photovoltaic world record set

Heliatek reached a record conversion efficiency of 13.2 per cent for an organic photovoltaic (OPV) multi-junction cell, setting a new world record for the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity using OPV cells.

Thanks to the low light and high temperature behaviour of the organic semiconductor, the electricity generation of the new cells corresponds to the output of conventional solar cells. This amounts to 16 to 17 per cent efficiency when both are under real world conditions.

The record-breaking cell is a multi-junction cell combining three different absorbers. Each of them is dedicated to efficiently convert green-, red- or near-infrared light of the wavelength range between 450 and 950 nm into electricity.

Heliatek, which is based in Dresden, Germany, has made continuous progress from three per cent to more than 13 per cent efficiency over the last 10 years. The company describes itself as “the global technology leader in the field of organic photovoltaics (OPV)”.

Dr. Martin Pfeiffer, CTO of Heliatek, commented in a press release: “We are very proud of this new world record. This success is based on our chemical research for new organic absorber materials. Key to this success is the close cooperation of our physics and chemistry R&D teams, which leads to an optimal combination of the properties of this new solar cell design.”

The record-breaking efficiency level was confirmed by the Fraunhofer Center for Silizium-Photovoltaik, a centre for the independent verification of solar cell performance results under standard testing conditions.

Photo credit: Tom Baerwald, Berlin

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