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Increasing Organic Photovoltaic Device Efficiency Through Microstructuring Techniques Open Access


Other title
Organic Photovoltaics
Microelectromechanical Systems
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Shewchuk, Ryan M
Supervisor and department
Dr. Michael Brett (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Dr. Jeremy Sit (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Jeremy Sit (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Dr. Doug Barlage (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Dr. Michael Brett (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Dr. Andrew Martin (Mechanical Engineering)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Microsystems and Nanodevices
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Organic photovoltaics offer the tantalizing possibility of inexpensive renewable energy generation. However, there are many issues that need to be solved before organic photovoltaics can see widespread use. One main issues that needs to be resolved is the relatively low efficiency of organic photovoltaics, which increases the cost per watt for the cells. Increasing efficiency of organic photovoltaics would therefore offer a possible avenue for their commercial adoption. This thesis explores the hypothesis that decoupling electrical carrier collection and light absorption in organic photovoltaics would allow for increased photoconversion efficiency. A model was created to test the feasibility of this concept. The model informed the fabrication of a prototype device using microfabrication techniques to test the hypothesis. Numerous fabrication steps were optimized, including mask design, photolithography, etching, thermal oxidation, glancing angle deposition, and polymer spinning. Severe issues were resolved in the photolithography, glancing angle deposition, and polymer spinning processing steps. The highest performing device achieved a 0.6% photoconversion efficiency and a fill factor of 0.25, with a carrier collection distance of 1.0 μm and a light absorption distance of 2.2 μm. For these device characteristics, the model predicted an efficiency of 0.63%, demonstrating good agreement between the model and the prototype device. The thesis concludes by suggesting additional processing steps and methods to further test the hypothesis.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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