Heliatek achieves new world record for organic solar cells with certified 9.8 % cell efficiency

Heliatek GmbH, a global leader in high-end solar PV technology, has once again set a new world record for organic solar cells after Fraunhofer ISE CalLab certified a cell efficiency of 9.8 % for a 1.1 cm² tandem cell manufactured with a low temperature deposition process. This new record makes the third time in a row that Heliatek has set a world record for efficiency in the field of organic photovoltaic and demonstrates its continuous technology leadership in organic solar.

One year ago, Heliatek GmbH set a world record for efficiency of 8.3 % for an active surface of 1.1 cm2. Thanks to its most recent developments, Heliatek has now been able to make a remarkable 1.5 % leap in cell efficiency, to 9.8 %. This new record was measured and certified by the independent Fraunhofer ISE CalLab (Freiburg, Germany) under standard test conditions.

Dr. Martin Pfeiffer, co-founder and CTO of Heliatek, explains: “Heliatek is the only solar company in the world focused on the deposition of small molecules with low temperature processes, a method that has already been widely adopted by the market for use with organic LEDs (OLEDs). Heliatek develops and synthesizes in-house the molecules responsible for capturing light in solar cells and converting this light into electricity. The new world record is a clear indication that Heliatek is headed in the right direction. Organic solar cells from Heliatek have now reached the level of efficiency of conventional solar cells made from amorphous silicon.”

Heliatek has both its own chemistry research department as well as a physics research department. This unique combination creates efficient synergies, enabling simultaneous work on material quality and cell design. Heliatek was able to optimize the absorber layer system of the record-breaking cells through synthetizing the right materials. Furthermore, by improving the deposition process, cell morphology was significantly improved, leading to an increase in power output and in fill factor.

The record-breaking cell construction will gradually be integrated into Heliatek’s manufacturing process after the scheduled start of production in the second half of 2012. Heliatek’s in-house measurements have shown that scaling up the record-breaking cells to a panel with a size factor >120 results in an efficiency over 9 % for the active module area.

Thibaud Le Séguillon, CEO of Heliatek, concludes: “I am delighted by this new result which confirms our technology leadership in this field. The next step on our way to 15 % will be a cell with over 10 % efficiency sometime next year. This latest record validates once again the decision taken at the outset by our investors and our team to commit ourselves to the production of organic solar based on small molecules using low temperature processes. Our flexible, thin and light panels open up new fields of applications that were so far impossible to address with conventional PV technologies. After our third investment round scheduled for 2012 - during which we plan to raise some €50 million in new capital from current and new investors - we plan to expand our production capacity with additional manufacturing lines. This will allow us to market our high-performance panels into new areas, such as windows and façades for BIPV. This technology has really the potential to revolutionize the solar industry.”

For achieving this new record efficiency result, Heliatek acknowledges comprehensive financial support of its R&D projects by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under project numbers 13N9869 and 13N9716, as well as the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Freistaat Sachsen under project number 71070.

Dr. Martin Pfeiffer (CTO of Heliatek GmbH), together with his fellow researchers Prof. Karl Leo (Director of IAPP) and Dr. Jan Blochwitz-Nimoth (Novaled AG), has been nominated for the 2011 Deutschen Zukunftspreis for successful research in the field of organic electronics. On December 14th, German President Christian Wulff will announce the winner from the three teams of scientists in the running for the prize.

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