New Type of Polymers Would Pave The Way To Better Solar Cells And Medical Devices, As Well

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We can already find organic polymers in solar cells, sensors, LEDs, and a lot of other technical applications. One type of polymers, known as S-PPVs, was very promising in theory. However, it has been impossible to generate them for specialized applications until now. Thanks to an experiment carried out by TU Wien, the scientists managed to produce a new type of polymers, S-PPVs, by employing new chemical synthesis process.

“PPVs are polymers that have superb technological properties. They conduct electrical current and interact with light in such a way that they are of great interest for use in solar cells or LEDs,” explained Florian Glöcklhofer from the Institute of Applied Synthetic Chemistry at TU Wien.

Commonly, the manufacturers used the so-called O-PPVs in which side groups are connected to the rest of the polymer through an oxygen atom. “If it is possible to replace oxygen side groups with sulfur side groups, this creates a new polymer, an S-PPV, which has significantly improved properties,” Glöcklhofer continued.

New Type of Polymers Would Pave The Way To Better Solar Cells And Medical Devices, As Well

“It was believed to be too difficult. It was important for us to develop a synthesizing method that was both simple and low-cost, with as few synthesis steps as possible, and without the need for expensive special catalysts. Ultimately, we want to produce materials that can be used in industrial applications. And S-PPV can only be commercially successful if the production costs do not exceed a certain level,” added Florian Glöcklhofer.

The team of scientists headed by Florian Glöcklhofer managed to create a new method for producing the S-PPVs type of polymers after four years of hard work and dozens of setbacks. Luckily, the researchers did not give in, and now, thanks to their technique, the new type of polymers would pave the way to better solar cells and medical devices, as well.

“It is a simple synthetic method for a new, highly promising group of polymers. The synthesis uses inexpensive base materials and does not require any palladium catalysts or similar expensive interim steps. The method can be scaled up for industrial quantities, is easily reproducible and delivers a product that not only boasts improved electronic properties but also improved stability,” concluded Florian Glöcklhofer.