Fallon Colberts

PhD student

After obtaining my Bachlor’s degree cum laude at Zuyd university of Applied Science in Heerlen and my Master’s degree at Eindhoven University of Technology at the department Chemical technology, I started my PhD in organic solar cells. The focus of my PhD is to process these solar cells in an environmentally friendly way to make them more attractive for large-scale processing. Today, the vast majority of organic solar cells are processed from halogenated solvents that are harmful to people’s health and environment which hampers large-scale processing. As water would be the most ideal alternative, nanoparticles containing photoactive materials stabilized by a surfactant in water are being synthesized and researched in this study. This comprises many challenges including, morphology formation, removal of stabilizer residues, nanoparticle stability and processing of solar cells devices and performance optimization. Another method of solar cells fabrication that is applicable for large-scale fabrication is the processing of organic photoactive layers on a water substrate by spontaneous spreading. Due to surface tension differences a droplet of organic material spreads on a water substrate while the solvent evaporates, leaving a thin-film that can be transferred to a substrate. This allows the use of patterned and flexible substrates and furthermore, multiple layers processed from the same solvent can be processed on top of each other without dissolving the underlying layer. The latter cannot be realized by other processing techniques and provides interesting solar cell architectures.