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Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Program                                                            
Phase 4 (2009 Deadline)

Total Solution Based Organic-Inorganic Solar Cells for Enhanced Efficiency and Stability 

S. Ismat Shah, University of Delaware
Salamat Ali, GC University, Lahore
Pakistani Funding (HEC):  $239,714
US Funding (Department of State): $215,790
Project Dates: November 15, 2010 - November 14, 2013
 
Project Overview

UDEL-GCU Solar Cells Project Researchers

The Pakistani research group with group leader Dr. Salamat Ali (photo courtesy of Dr. Syed Shah).

 
Pakistan is a developing country facing a severe energy crisis that is not only impacting the lives of common citizens but also impeding industrial development. Due to its geographical location, most of the country enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout most of the year. This presents an ideal situation for the country to explore solar energy as an alternative to fossil fuels, yet very little work is being done in this area in Pakistan, and research in photovoltaics is almost nonexistent. The goal of this project is to develop the indigenous human resources, research facilities, and educational infrastructure in Pakistan to carry out research and development in photovoltaics. It will create a laboratory at the Government College University (GCU) in Lahore to support research on photovoltaics, including through the use of novel, nontraditional approaches to be introduced by the U.S. partner. If successful, these approaches could reduce barriers to efficient large-scale production of organic photovoltaics. By helping to establish the necessary materials characterization facilities at GCU and training Pakistani researchers, the project will create a new focal point for organic photovoltaic research that will serve as a resource for scientists and engineers throughout the country and facilitate the country’s efforts to address its critical energy needs in a sustainable manner. In order to help bring beginning Pakistani researchers into this effort, the U.S. partner Dr. Shah will teach several short courses at GCU, and several undergraduate and graduate students from both sides will be involved in the research related to the proposed study and will visit each other’s universities. By working together on this three-year project, the participants will build personal and professional ties as they work on a scientific project of mutual interest.
 
Quarterly Update
 
One of the main goals for this past year was to find alternatives for one of the main components of organic solar cells (OSCs) and evaluate the performance of the solar cells with the addition of these alternatives. The researchers have synthesized TiO2 and ZnO nanoparticles through chemical methods to work as additives to the OSCs and substitute PCBM. The experiments were successful with up to 40% by weight substitution of PCBM with TiO2, ZnO or a combination thereof. One paper resulting from the work based on this work has already been submitted and is under revision. Another paper is in the final stages of completion and will be submitted for review shortly.
 
Another area of research this past year was related to the diffusion of aluminum in the active layer of the device. A typical OSC is fabricated on glass with a transparent-conducting oxide (TCO) layer on it. TCO allows the light to go through and at the same time provides a conducting path to the external circuit. The other contact is placed on top of the active layer in OSC to draw the electrons out to the external circuit. This is typically an aluminum electrode. After fabrication, the whole device is annealed at 160 C in order to crystallize the active layer. However, this annealing also causes aluminum to diffuse into the active layer. If this diffusion is only limited in extent, the resistance to the contact is reduced which is good for the device. If, however, the aluminum penetrates deeper, there is a possibility of shorting. To avoid this it is important to measure the diffusivity of Al in the active layer. They have measured this diffusivity by determining the concentration on aluminum across the device and utilizing a very well-known model for diffusion. The work is now complete and a paper based on this work is ready to be submitted for review very shortly.
 
Progress Reports

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