Thursday, September 9, 2010

Polymer processing

The invention of conductive polymers (for which Alan Heeger, Alan G. MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa were awarded a Nobel prize) may lead to the development of much cheaper cells that are based on inexpensive plastics. However, organic solar cells generally suffer from degradation upon exposure to UV light, and hence have lifetimes which are far too short to
be viable.

The bonds in the polymers, are always susceptible to breaking up when radiated with shorter wavelengths. Additionally, the conjugated double bond systems in the polymers which carry the charge, react more readily with light and oxygen. So most conductive polymers, being highly unsaturated and reactive, are highly sensitive to atmospheric moisture and oxidation, making commercial applications difficult.

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