OPV for mobile applications: an evaluation of roll-to-roll processed indium and silver free polymer solar cells through analysis of life cycle, cost and layer quality using inline optical and functional inspection tools
Organic photovoltaic modules have been evaluated for their integration in mobile electronic applications such as a laser pointer. An evaluation of roll-to-roll processed indium and silver free polymer solar cells has been carried out from different perspectives: life cycle assessment, cost analysis and layer quality evaluation using inline optical and functional inspection tools. The polymer solar cells were fabricated in credit card sized modules by three routes, and several encapsulation alternatives have been explored, with the aim to provide the simplest but functional protection against moisture and oxygen, which could deteriorate the performance of the cells. The analysis shows that ITO- and silver-free options are clearly advantageous in terms of energy embedded over the traditional modules, and that encapsulation must balance satisfying the protection requirements while having at the same time a low carbon footprint. From the economic perspective there is a huge reduction in the cost of the ITO- and silver-free options, reaching as low as 0.25 V for the OPV module. We used inspection tools such as a roll-to-roll inspection system to evaluate all processing steps during the fabrication and analyse the layers’ quality and forecast whether a module will work or not and establish any misalignment of the printed pattern or defects in the layers that can affect the performance of the devices. This has been found to be a good tool to control the process and to increase the yield.
Journal of Materials Chemistry a, 2013, Vol 1, p. 7037-7049