Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Photochromic Solar Cells: Towards Photovoltaic Devices with Variable and Self-Adaptable Optical Transmission

Project description

Novel solar cells of adjustable absorption and transmission

In the emerging photovoltaic (PV) technologies, dye-sensitised solar cells (DSSCs) offer a promising cost-effective solution, stability, and the innovative feature of semi-transparency, but the technology needs more development. DSSC applications are endless, beginning with buildings, vehicles and mobile electronics. The PISCO project will build on a 2017 proposal made by the lead scientist to combine photochromism and PV properties, producing solar cells that can self-adjust in both absorption (such as weather conditions), and in optical transmission. PISCO will design highly stable novel photochromic dyes, test them in devices, and show their potential in market applications. Its innovative technologies will contribute towards a much higher share of solar-generated sources in energy production in Europe.


Solar Solar energy is an unlimited renewable source of energy but its contribution to European energy production is still minor. It is therefore urgent to develop innovative photovoltaic (PV) technologies and products, and to implement them massively. Among emerging photovoltaics, Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSCs) are competitive in terms of efficiency, cost, and more importantly stability. They can be made semi-transparent which is an appealing feature for building or automobile integrated photovoltaics. But to be efficient, they have to harvest a maximum of photons from the sun, thus the best-performing DSSCs cannot show a good transparency which impedes their use as windows.
In 2017, I proposed a new concept to combine photochromism and photovoltaic, leading for the first time to efficient semi-transparent solar cells showing variable and self-adjustable optical transmission. These cells can simultaneously adapt their absorption depending on the weather conditions and produce electricity.
Starting from this result, PISCO will widely explore this exciting concept and provide a breakthrough in photovoltaics by developing a novel class of multifunctional solar cells that could be massively integrated in buildings, automotive, or mobile electronics.
The main objectives of PISCO are:
1) Design and synthesis of novel photochromic dyes with optimized optoelectronic properties and high stability.
2) Integration of these molecules in devices using methodologies to enable fundamental studies, to fully understand what factors are governing the photochromic behaviour, the generation of electrical power, and the interplay between them.
3) Inspired by the most relevant and recent concepts in the field, to develop robust and efficient photochromic solar cells and modules.

PISCO will provide the step change expected in photovoltaics, it will change our conceit of optical properties of solar cells by providing a ground-breaking technology with widen potential applications.


Net EU contribution
€ 2 497 742,00
Rue leblanc 25
75015 Paris

See on map

Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)