Picture of the Week—Organic Solar Cells

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Princeton University held an “Art of Science” competition, challenging students, staff and alumni to submit “found art,” that is, extraordinary images produced in the course of scientific research. Three winners were announced last week, and voting is now underway for a People’s Choice award. And the image above?

Organic electronics is an emerging field that holds promise for low-cost photovoltaic applications. This image of annealed organic solar cells was taken using an optical microscope with cross-polarizers and a Nomarski filter. The two moon-like circles are metal cathodes which define the active area of the device. Thermal annealing of these thin-film devices often leads to improved power conversion efficiency. In this case, however, annealing at a temperature near the melting point of one of the constituent components led to the formation of device-ruining ridges and valleys.

Credit: R. R. Lunt, Princeton Art of Science, 2009