Off-Grid, Solar

Partnership Pursues Full Spectrum Polymer Solar

Konarka’s research progress on their polymer-based thin film solar approach rolls on. The company recently agreed to work collaboratively with Evident Technologies, a company that specializes in “quantum dot” development and applications. The research aims to increase the sensitivity of Konarka’s plastic cells to a wider range of the light spectrum.

“As part of our continuing efforts to push photovoltaic science forward, we’ve learned how to get sensitivity outside the visible light spectrum, including the infrared, with our polymers,” said Russell Gaudiana, Ph.D., vice president of research and development at Konarka. “This collaboration is focused on determining the best materials to capture more light and how to manufacture them outside the lab environment.” Evident’s proprietary EviDotsT, which are high performance semiconductor nanocrystals active throughout the visible spectrum and into the near-infrared, are being combined with Konarka’s conductive polymers to create ultra high performance solar cells that Konarka says exceed the capabilities of today’s best silicon-based technologies. “Our quantum dots are tuned to absorb light over the solar spectrum from the visible through the infrared,” said Michael LoCascio, chief technology officer of Evident Technologies. “This leads to harvesting a greater portion of energy, resulting in greater efficiencies for solar cells. By combining our quantum dots with Konarka’s innovative solar cell technology, together we are going to lead the way in making ultra high performance plastic solar cells a commercial reality.” In addition to more traditional residential solar use, the quantum dot power plastic could be used for demanding energy, communications and military applications, such as battlefield or off-grid power generation. This program with Evident complements Konarka’s ongoing efforts to develop different coat-able and printable chemistries for its light-activated power plastic. Each chemistry application can be tuned to a specific purpose, enabling customers to choose the performance that best suits the power requirements of their devices, systems or structures.