Modelling and printing of ultra-fine current collectors for transparent photovoltaic applications

Modelling and printing of ultra-fine current collectors for transparent photovoltaic applications

Internship Description

Photovoltaics based on organic electron donors and acceptors have recently garnered significant interest resulting from their ability to selectively harvest light beyond the human visible range. The result is a technology which allows for electricity to be generated only from invisible ultraviolet and infrared light, leaving the solar panel visibly transparent.


For large-area transparent solar panels to be realized, transparent conducting electrodes must be used to capture the electrons generated from the invisible light. Popular transparent conductors include tin-doped indium oxide (ITO) and silver nanowires (AgNWs). However, these materials present sheet resistances too high to be used alone for solar cell areas larger than a few cm2.


A solution to this problem lies in the deposition of ultra-thin metallic lines on top of the transparent conductor to efficiently collect current and transport it to the external circuit. The thickness, spacing, orientation, and patterning of these grids all contribute to their overall visual transparency and electrical properties. Therefore, for large-area transparent PV to become a reality, it is necessary to optimize such a grid to yield the best possible electrical conductivity whilst remaining visually transparent and un-distracting.

 

In this project, the student will employ computational modelling techniques to generate and test new and different grid structures for printing onto transparent photovoltaics in order to enhance their electrical performance. Grids will be simulated computationally, before being physically realized through inkjet printing and characterized in terms of their electrical performance and visual transparency.

Deliverables/Expectations

  • Development of a computational simulation model to predict the electrical conductivity of different grid structures
  • Development of an optimized grid structure to maximize conductivity with the minimum amount of opaque material used per unit area.
  • Inkjet printing trials of optimized grid structures
  • Physical characterization of optimized grids in terms of their electrical conductivity and light absorption
  • Application of optimized printed grids into real-world transparent photovoltaics resulting in an improvement in their photovoltaic performance.

Faculty Name

Derya Baran

Field of Study

‚ÄčMaterials Science, Optics and photonics, electrical engineering