KAIST researchers said in a recent statement that they have developed the world’s highest-performing stretchable solar cells. They can be stretched up to 40% during operation, with a conversion efficiency of 19%.
“The team conjugated a highly stretchable polymer to an electrically conductive polymer with excellent electrical properties through chemical bonding and developed a new conductive polymer with electrical conductivity and mechanical stretchability,” the researchers said. “It meets the highest reported level of photovoltaic conversion efficiency (19%) using organic solar cells while also showing ten times the stretchability of existing devices.”
They presented the tech in “Rigid and Soft Block-Copolymerized Conjugated Polymers Enable High-Performance Intrinsically-Stretchable Organic Solar Cells,” which was recently published on Joule. The tech was developed with conjugated polymer donors (PDs) consisting of electroactive rigid and soft blocks.
“We use rigid D18 and soft PEHDT blocks to synthesize block-copolymerized PDs (D180.8-s-PEHDT0.2), which offer high electrical properties and mechanical stretchability,” the scientists said. “The D180.8-s-PEHDT0.2-organic solar cells (OSCs) excel beyond their D18- and PEHDT-based OSC counterparts by overcoming the traditional power conversion efficiency-stretchability trade-off.”
The research team was led by Prof. Bumjoon Kim from KAIST’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
“Through this research, we not only developed the world’s best performing stretchable organic solar cell, but it is also significant that we developed a new polymer that can be applicable as a base material for various electronic devices that need to be malleable and/or elastic,” said Kim.
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