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Organic Electronics and Photovoltaics

Organic polymers are used in electronics due to their insulating, semiconducting or metallic properties. Already today, they can be found in commercial products such as displays and illuminants based on organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), power generators such as organic solar cells (OPVs) and electronic components such as transistors. This is because polymers are inexpensive to produce and easy to process.

picture of glove box
The in-house coating facility enables ICP researchers to produce OLEDs and organic solar cells (OPVs).

The special advantages of OLEDs are their thin design, wide viewing angle and high achievable efficiency. OLEDs consist of a sequence of several thin organic semiconductor layers enclosed by two metallic electrodes. Up to ten or more functional layers can be used in modern OLEDs. The rapidly increasing commercialization of OLEDs has also put organic photovoltaics increasingly in the spotlight of research. The strong absorptivity of OPV materials allows layer thicknesses up to three orders of magnitude smaller than those of inorganic solar cells. The highest efficiencies achieved in the laboratory are currently around 12 % and are achieved with so-called composite cells, with the related technology of perovskite solar cells even at 20 %.

The ICP supports this development with the help of multiphysics computer models, which enable the optimization of the layer structure with regard to electrical and optical performance characteristics. SETFOS is a software package originally developed at the ICP primarily for the simulation of OLEDs and organic solar cells, which is commercialized by the ICP spin-off Fluxim AG. The program package PECSIM is primarily used for the simulation of dye solar cells (DSCs). The further development of SETFOS and PECSIM takes place within the framework of Innosuisse, SNSF, EU and BfE projects as well as through direct industrial financing with partners from Switzerland and other European countries.

The ICP is also a partner in the "Virtual Laboratory for Photovoltaics" (Swiss Research Platform in Photo Voltaics SRPV) and the "Virtual Laboratory for Solid State Lighting" (Swiss National Laboratory for Solid State Lighting SSSL), which bring together leading Swiss research institutions. These virtual laboratories are part of the Swissphotonics network, which was founded within the national thematic networks NTN of Innosuisse (formerly CTI). Their mission is to support Swiss SMEs.