Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - ESTABLIS (Ensuring STABiLIty in organic Solar cells)

Making organic photovoltaic devices (OPVs) with lifetimes appropriate for large-scale commercial applications means applying, synchronously, a wide range of sciences. At the core of the ESTABLIS (Ensuring stability in organic solar cells) project (FP7-PEOPLE-ITN-ESTABLIS-29022) which ran from 2011-2015, was cross-science fertilisation and ensuring fast communication between scientists working in organic synthesis, polymer chemistry and physics, optoelectronics, device manufacturing, formulation, analytical sciences and computer modelling. These actions are important for OPV research as the devices are effective when all the chemical, electronic and physical parameters work together in a complementary manner. Extensive synthetic work, frontier-pushing characterisations, and beyond state-of-the-art computer-based modelling, are essential to understanding, and improving, OPV lifetimes.

ESTABLIS had two key objectives. First was to train 15 individual researchers to become high-level professional scientists and leaders in their fields, with both the scientific and the entrepreneurial skills that Europe requires of them to help ensure a bright future for fast growing OPV and related industries. Second, ESTABLIS targeted 10 year stabilities for low cost OPVs using industry relevant techniques. While efficiencies in the laboratory are now reaching more than 10%, this is using solvents and technology that is not easily translatable to the industrial production line. For this technology to succeed in providing adaptable, colourful, devices that empower users, we need to see prioritisation of industry-relevant techniques and improvements in device stabilities, that will lead to greater productivities.

ESTABLIS was built through the strong support of thirty-five industrial and academic staff from across seven countries and in 6 world leading companies and 7 key academic groups, and 15 extremely committed and dedicated Fellows who worked to reach these same common objectives.
ESTABLIS delivered on both of its key objectives and more. It's Fellows are successfully going forward with their careers, strengthened by the work that was done in the consortium, trained in a wide variety of skills, and comfortable in the knowledge that while they have been through a tough training program, it is one that has built their international perceptions and capacity for scientific rigour immeasurably. The science has been performed such that the initial deliverable of low-cost OPV devices using industry accepted solvents and large scale cells with ten years lifetimes has been surpassed. IEC certification has been achieved by the world's leading producer of OPVs, Belectric OPV GmbH, a key member of the ESTABLIS consortium. Belectric OPV GmbH and Heraeus have entered into closer operations following ESTABLIS, and the world leader in providing semi-conducting polymers, Merck, is working with Belectric OPV to continue to expand their product range.

ESTABLIS was an extremely productive consortium. It resulted in 5 patents, 23 published papers, and 7 more papers submitted. Another 10 papers are in preparation to be submitted in the near future.

The ESTABLIS consortium made many essential discoveries, including: novel low band gap polymers; polymers incorporating fullerene into the main-chain; new techniques to stabilise active layer morphologies key to providing long-term stable devices; understanding the effects of photo-oxidation on new low-band gap polymers; in-situ tests for inter-layer adhesions; understanding the way in which moisture can degrade devices; and a complete, multi-scale correlation between real and artificial ageing processes for OPVs; and so on to name but a few of ESTABLIS' contribution to this field. The list is quite astounding.

ESTABLIS was efficiently organised using a number of innovations: a Director of Training oversaw the use of Personal Career Development Plans; PhD cotutelles were established for the majority of Fellows, enhancing their employment prospects and international experience; regular large and small meetings between all the members were held so that partners could discuss subjects in an effective and timely manner; invited speakers, and regular talks ensured that cross-science subjects were not a barrier to understanding but a bridge to developing new solutions for creative OPV science; regular workshops also doubled-up as forums for sharing experiences, and resolving challenges; and the Project Manager encouraged and coordinated outreach activities. The ESOS conference in Cargèse, run by ESTABLIS in collaboration with the COST actions and the CNRS was widely acknowledged to be a glowing success, combing top-flight international science and discussions with an excellent ambience conducive to developing new collaborations.

ESTABLIS will have a long lasting impact through the way in which its Fellows have benefited from this program, and through its science which has contributed to the rapid development of OPV technology. More than 1200 students have benefitted from ESTABLIS Outreach actions, learning how solar cells work. Through ESTABLIS’s innovations, we expect in the coming year to see the construction of the world’s first cluster of community scale OPV sites in the Communauté de Communes de Vic-Montaner with an eye expanding production of this exceptional technology which we believe will play an important role in our future energy sourcing.

Please see www.project-establis.eu and www.facebook.com/establis for more information.

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UNIVERSITE DE PAU ET DES PAYS DE L'ADOUR
France
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