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Emerging photovoltaics: strategies for more stable devices

Photovoltaic devices applying solution-processed organic, inorganic and organicinorganic hybrid materials, including polymer/small molecule semiconductors, colloidal quantum dots (QDs) and organic-inorganic halide perovskites, have shown remarkable progress in terms of efficiency over the past decade. Yet the Achilles heel of these devices lies in their modest environmental stability. The objective of this symposium is to highlight the newest developments in 3rd-generation solar cells based on solution processible systems with a focus on the fundamental aspects of their stability and innovative practical approaches to improve the lifetimes of such photovoltaic devices.


Researchers in the field of photovoltaic devices based on organic, inorganic colloidal QDs and organic-inorganic perovskite halide materials have witnessed remarkable progress over the past decade. The majority of research efforts have been focused on the improvement of the power conversion efficiency of these devices, leading to a significant increase of this figure-of-merit to >13% for organics and QD and >22% for perovskites. This progress and additional advantageous properties, such as ease of processibility, low-cost, light-weight, flexibility and semi transparency make these devices a contender for potential new industrial applications. However, when compared to silicon-based solar panels, which typically have a lifespan of 25 years, most solution-processed 3rd generation solar cells suffer from various degrees of material degradation related to the environment they are exposed to. Degradation, thus currently represents one of the utmost pressing issues preventing their largescale application and exploitation.

The fundamental reasons for organic and hybrid material deterioration to a large extend originate from the same properties that make these materials attractive. Soft, flexible character of organic and hybrid semiconductors make them susceptible to morphological changes, and may facilitate precipitation of oxidation agents into the photovoltaic device. Moreover, device architecture with large interfacial areas may be prone to undesirable photochemistry and promote changes in the device over time. For these reasons, addressing the stability aspect of organic and hybrid photovoltaic devices requires an interdisciplinary approach and should be assessed in the context of the specific photoconversion mechanism for every type of 3rd-generation solar cells.

This symposium aims to bring together international key researchers working on organic, inorganic QD, hybrid organic-QD, and perovskite halide materials to discuss fundamental knowledge, new concepts, material and device design strategies towards the goal of more stable and better preforming 3rd -generation solar cells. The understanding of degradation mechanisms and solving of the degradation issues both from materials and device structure are indispensable for their future real application. In particular, knowledge regarding the interplay between material design (synthesis, doping), device structure, materials/device processing, interfaces, charge transport, and novel characterization techniques is highly desirable in order to promote these emerging photovoltaic technologies to real consumer products.

Hot topics to be covered by the symposium:

  • Degradation mechanisms in organic photovoltaics and new non-fullerene acceptor materials
  • Surface trap formation in colloidal QD and hybrid (organic-QD) photovoltaics
  • Degradation mechanisms in perovskite photovoltaics
  • Observation of degradation effects through device photophysics
  • Role of extraction layers and electrodes in device stability
  • Mitigation strategies
  • Use of encapsulation layers and blocking layers for stability enhancement
  • Photochemistry and photophysics of hybrid semiconductors
  • Water and oxygen precipitation in soft semiconductors
  • New device structures for enhanced lifetime

Tentative list of invited speakers:

  • M. Saiful Islam – University of Bath, UK
  • Gerasimos Konstantatos - ICFO – The Institute of Photonic Sciences, Spain
  • Neil Greenham - University of Cambridge, UK
  • Thomas Riedl – University of Wuppertal, Germany
  • Christoph Brabec – University of Erlangen, Germany
  • Nam-Gyu Park – Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea
  • Qingbo Meng - Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • Michael D. McGehee – Stanford University, USA
  • Zhijun Ning, Shanghai University of Technology, China
  • Xudong Yang, Shanghai Jiaotong University, China
  • Wanli Ma, Soochow University, China
  • Lionel Hirsch, CNRS/Université de Bordeaux, France
  • Dongling Ma, INRS, Canada
  • Dieter Neher, University of Potsdam, Germany
  • Robert Lovrincic, TU Braunschweig, Germany
  • John B. Asbury, Penn State University, USA
  • Maria Antonietta Loi, University of Groningen, Germany

Tentative list of scientific committee members:

  • Ni Zhao – Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
  • Henry Snaith – Oxford University, UK
  • Nir Tessler – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
  • Ted Sargent – University of Toronto, Canada
  • Huagui Yang, Huadong University of Science and Technology, China
  • Thomas Kirchartz, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Germany
  • Nicolas Mercier, Université Angers, France
  • Peter Reiss, CEA Centre de Grenoble, France
  • Mario Caironi, Center for Nano Science and Technology @PoliMi, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy
  • Annamaria Petrozza, Center for Nano Science and Technology @PoliMi, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy

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Symposium organizers
Artem BAKULINImperial College London

Department of Chemistry, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ, U.K.

+44 (0) 757 831 3163
Baoquan SUNSoochow University

Institute of Functional Nano & Soft Materials (FUNSOM), 199 Ren-Ai Road, Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123 China

+86 512 65880951
Yana VAYNZOFHeidelberg University

Kirchhoff Institute for Physics, Im Neuenheimer Feld 227, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

+49 6221 54 9276
Zhuoying CHENCNRS – ESPCI Paris

Laboratoire de Physique et d'Etude des Matériaux (LPEM), UMR 8213, 10 Rue Vauquelin, 75005 Paris, France

+33 (0)1 40 79 45 84