Led by a highly experienced management team that includes Chairman Matthew Stone, NextGen Nano recently achieved a breakthrough in the advancement of solar cells, demonstrating increased efficiency in tandem organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices.

NextGen Nano’s research demonstrated the aptitude of HSolar, a comparatively simple material, when used as an interconnecting layer in tandem solar cells. HSolar proved to be not only stable, but highly efficient in tests that were replicated by several research groups.

The research group’s findings were outlined in a paper recently published on the inside cover of the Advanced Energy Materials journal. By revealing its recipe, NextGen Nano has enabled independent research teams to replicate its research, with the ultimate aim of developing increasingly efficient multi-junction OPV technology. Simulations indicate that efficiency of more than 22% could be achievable based on NextGen Nano’s research.

As explained by Director of Operations Duncan Clark, NextGen Nano’s findings could pave the way to a brighter, more sustainable future through widespread use of OPV technology. Mr Clark indicated that developing OPVs has presented efficiency and replication challenges, hindering commercialisation. Nevertheless, the accomplishment achieved by the NextGen Nano team could prove a crucial step in overcoming these issues.

Led by Dr Franky So, the company’s Chief Technology Officer, and head research scientist Dr Carr Ho, the NextGen Nano team primarily set out to identify OPV efficiency, which has traditionally faced significant limitations. In recent years, many solar cell researchers have attempted to overcome this obstacle by layering subcells to create tandem OPV devices capable of higher efficiencies.

By incorporating HSolar with zinc oxide nanoparticles, the team provided an electrical and physical contact that is vital to reducing energy losses. The efficacy of HSolar as an interconnecting layer is integral to the device’s efficiency. To date, solar cell developers have faced challenges in developing an interconnecting layer that doesn’t interfere with other layers, allowing efficient charge recombination without diminishing open-circuit voltage and producing replicable results.

HSolar is relatively simple to produce using materials that are commercially available. Testing two common organic tandem solar cells, the PolyPower research team demonstrated power conversion efficiency of 14.7%. The team shared its interconnecting layer recipe with other research groups, promoting validation of its results. In simulations, other research groups demonstrated efficiencies of 16.1%. In follow-up simulations ran by PolyPower, the team demonstrated that power conversion efficiency of up to 22% could be achieved through the implementation of state-of-the-art organic photoactive materials as tandem cells.

Pioneering nanotechnology, NextGen Nano is committed to advancing clean technology, facilitating a global transition to green energy. For several years, NextGen Nano has strived to advance OPV technology, developing the next generation of highly flexible and efficient solar panels.