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Lecture Sean Shaheen


26 August 2008 FWN-Building 5114.0004, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG, Groningen
Speaker: Dr. Sean Shaheen
Affiliation: University of Denver
Title: New materials discovery in organic photovoltaics: the search for the magic donor-acceptor pair
Date: Tue Aug 26, 2008
Start: 10.00
Location: FWN-Building 5114.0004
Host: J.C. Hummelen
Telephone: +31 50 363 5553


One of the wondrous benefits of organic electronics that is frequently touted is the “infinite variety” of molecules that we have access to.  In fact, synthetic chemists are commonly found stating that “if you can draw it, we can make it”. (This is almost true, and we physicists delight in drawing impossible structures, completely on purpose of course, and handing them to the chemists).  While this situation makes for great job security for the synthetic chemists, it makes the actual process of selecting the particular sub-set of infinite compounds rather challenging.  That is to say, after the research team members are done congratulating themselves and patting themselves on the backs for securing the funds needed to develop the “next generation” of materials, and it is time to actually choose the material set to work on, they begin to realize the true nature of their predicament and spend several days (or longer) in a state of perplexed bewilderment.

In fact, materials discovery and development in the field of organic photovoltaic (OPV) has often been guided more by serendipity [1] than what we would consider strict “scientific method”.  The same can also be said for the role of just plain good luck in the development of device fabrication techniques and architectures (much of my own research results for instance).  So the question becomes, what guiding principles can we employ to ultimately find the needle-in-the-haystack combination of materials that will fulfill the promise of low-cost, high efficiency OPV devices? 

In this talk, I will give an overview of the development of OPV materials to date.  I will provide my own, completely biased viewpoint (from the thin air of the Rocky Mountains) on what path we have taken, what pitfalls we have encountered, and what lessons we have learned.  In an attempt to make the talk actually useful as well, I’ll also briefly describe the state of affairs of OPV materials and device development efforts by our group and collaborators at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory here in Colorado.


Last modified:22 October 2012 2.31 p.m.