Scientists at the Sustainable Advanced Materials (Sêr SAM) research group at Swansea University have filed for a UK patent based on their recent developments in the field of solution-processed optoelectronics.
The Sêr SAM group focuses on understanding and developing new optoelectronic materials and devices. These devices include photovoltaics, which converts light into electrical energy, and light-emitting diodes. For research purposes, these devices can be small – this makes their fabrication easier and saves material waste. However, for practical devices, these devices need to be made at larger scales.
A technical challenge impeding progress in creating large-area devices is a component found in most optoelectronic devices known as the transparent conductive electrode (TCE). This performs three key functions in developing solution-processed optoelectronic devices. Firstly, it provides the substrate onto which solution-processed materials can be deposited. Secondly, it must allow as much light as possible to enter the device (transparent) and thirdly, must be as electrically conductive as possible.
Research from the Sêr SAM team has highlighted that materials used to create TCEs, such as metal oxides, do not offer the necessary properties to achieve the necessary balance between transparency and conductivity to create large-area optoelectronic devices. The recent patent filing from the team addresses this challenge with a method of creating high-performance TCEs.
This area of work follows successful Master’s projects, and will be continued as part of a doctoral project. The facilities opening in the Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials (CISM) in 2022 will be integral to translating these developments to commercial settings.
(Written by Dr Gregory Burwell)