Kicking Off the OPV Stability Project

The OPV Stability Project's kick-off meeting took place in Erlangen, Germany, from April 8th to 11th. Partners, supervisors, and PhD students convened to deliberate on the Project's forthcoming steps and commence the initial training sessions.

Organic solar cells represent a promising avenue for the production of emission-free electricity: compared to silicon cells, they are lighter, thinner, and possess enhanced flexibility, all while maintaining good power conversion efficiency. Nonetheless, the swiftness of their degradation remains a formidable impediment to widespread adoption. Hence, the key question is: how can we prolong the lifespan of organic photovoltaics? Ten PhD students will undertake this challenge over the next four years of the Project.
A training program and individualized career guidance have been instituted to delve deeper into the evolution of these technologies and pinpoint stable motifs, materials, and architectures. The gathering in Erlangen marked the initial stride in this important journey.

The meeting started with presentations from participating universities, industrial entities, and research facilities, fostering an interdisciplinary milieu that encouraged students to contemplate science while acknowledging the potential economic ramifications of their research endeavours. Subsequently, PhD candidates engaged in one-on-one discussions with supervisors to delineate their work agendas and commence training sessions.
The first one was a comprehensive "Introduction into OPV," laying a robust foundational understanding of the technology. This was seamlessly followed by an extensive overview of photovoltaics and its pivotal role in transforming energy systems.The Meeting highlights  included lab visits of i-Meet and Hi-Ern, providing firsthand exposure to cutting-edge equipment utilized in OPV research. Furthermore, participants had the privilege to explore OPV production during a visit to Energie Campus Nurnberg, gaining valuable insights into practical applications.

A workshop focusing on "Big Data, statistics, data mining, and machine learning" further equipped the DCs with analytical tools indispensable for effective data interpretation, thus augmenting their capabilities in OPV research and development. In sum, these activities facilitated a comprehensive and enriching learning experience, nurturing collaboration and fostering innovation among all participants.

The OPV Stability Project presents a novel comprehensive strategy that includes high-throughput experiments and artificial intelligence methods to set the path for the next generation of OPVs. As the project coordinator, Gregor Trimmel, from the Institute for Chemistry and Technology of Materials at TU Graz, remarked: “High efficiency, low costs and long lifetimes are essential qualities for every solar cell technology. OPVs have already shown that they can compete in the first two factors, as their efficiencies are approaching 20% with a very low cost of production. However, OPVs still lag in stability. Within OPVStability, we focus on this very key issue, and I am confident that we will make a significant contribution to the further advancement of this technology.”

Partners of the project are Technical University Graz, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Paul Drude Institute  - Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V., Karlstad University, Central European Research Infrastructure Consortium, University of Bayreuth, Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen - Nürnberg, University of Southern Denmark as well as the associated partners InfinityPV, ASCA GmbH, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Sunbooster GmbH, Zentrum für Elektronenmikroskopie, and University of Potsdam.