SINGAPORE (Aug. 19, 1:30 p.m. ET) — A new polymer developed at the Singapore Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) is effective in both the latest plastic electronics and plastic solar cells.
According to the IMRE researchers, the thiophene/benzothiadiazole copolymer offers cost savings and opens up new design options for electronic and solar cell companies. The material produces a high charge mobility of 0.2 cm2/Vs – matching that achieved by commercially available semiconducting materials. It also has a high solar power conversion efficiency of 6.3 percent, making the polymer one of the few materials to combine these two attributes.
IMRE Senior Scientist Chen Zhi Kuan said: “Our polymer functions not only as a good material to make electronic components, but can also convert sunlight to electricity efficiently.” The polymer can easily be applied by roll-to-roll printing techniques.
The material might be used in designing new dual-function devices where both power harnessing and electronic functions are needed in a single component – for example chemical sensors based on organic thin-film transistors and powered by organic solar cells.
Potential single-function applications cited by the IMRE team include low-cost organic solar cells, new flexible display devices, next-generation “smart” labels and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags.
The research and its results were recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Materials and online at Asia Materials.