livingroom Muttenz (CH), 15 June 2016 – Since 2012, partners in the European Sunflower project have made some significant breakthroughs to facilitate industrial use of OPV (printed organic photovoltaics). Now the project has concluded and delivered it's final objectives.SUNFLOWER has taken the materials used and improved their lifespan and performance, with production costs likely to appeal to businesses. Their achievement was acknowledged when the demonstrator that they designed won an award at LOPE-C in Munich this year.

“The possible applications for OPV technology are numerous, from consumer mobile electronic devices to architecture,” explains Giovanni Nisato, coordinator of the project managed by CSEM (Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology). “Thanks to the results we have obtained, printed organic photovoltaics are set to become part of our everyday lives, letting us use renewable energy which is respectful of the environment and with a positive impact on our quality of life.” The European Union has invested €10 million in this project, enabling much progress in OPV materials, science and device technologies, which will help it achieve its goal of doubling the share of renewables in its energy mix, from 14% in 2012 to 27-30% by 2030. Sunflower has paved the way to enable a significant rise in the use of solar power incorporated into everyday objects.

Click here for the full press release: in English, French and German. As well as testimonials from European companies that collaborated in SUNFLOWER.


The Organic and Printed Electronics Association (OE-A) awarded the Sunflower project the “Best publicly funded project demonstrator”
prize for the “OPV living room”.

Organic photovoltaics (OPV) provide the benefits of flexibility, low weight, and freedom of design. OPV can operate under
low-light conditions and is shadow-tolerant. These advantages, and the ease of handling in subsequent product-integration
processes, enable the development of consumer and portable electronics, and building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV)
products. The Sunflower consortium has chosen three demonstration targets to visualize these new possibilities:

  •  OPV window blinds: window blinds with integrated printed organic PV modules. The blinds are large-area functional modules. These devices are compatible with mass manufacturing.
  •  OPV integrated in architectural glass windows. The windows even contain additional light-management structures which increase energy harvesting of the OPV windows.
  •  OPV bag with OPV modules fully integrated in the material of the bag.
  YouTube logo full color An overview video of SUNFLOWER and OPV
The sunflower project has produced  short video which explains the benefits and possibilities of organic photovoltaics. You can check it out here

Sunflower booth @ICT Lisbon 2015 The SUNFLOWER project was selected for a VIP tour visit by EU commissioner Günther Oettinger and Portugese president Aníbal Cavaco Silva at the ICT2015 conference in Lisbon, Portugal.
Check out this video covering the visit to the Sunflower booth.
You can find more pictures in our news section.

Three sunflower demonstrators were intergrated into an OPV living room and showcased at the ICT conference:

  •  OPV window blinds
  •  OPV integrated in architectural glass windows
  •  OPV bag with OPV modules fully integrated in the material of the bag.



Oxygen- and water-based degradation mechanisms in PCBM films

We determine the effects of in situ oxygen/water exposure on the energetics of PCBM films. Our results reveal that the degradation effects and mechanisms of PCBM induced by oxygen and water are completely different. Upon exposure to oxygen gas, the work function is downshifted by ~0.15 eV compared to the ideal ICT curve for pristine PCBM, which we speculate is due to energy level bending due to defect states introduced above the EICT- of PCBM (closer to the vacuum level). The IP and UPS spectral features of the PCBM films are not affected and the O2 degradation is reversible by thermal treatment in vacuum. For water vapor exposure, we find non-reversible degradation of the electronic structure including significant decrease of the IP and work function that do not saturate for the exposure times used.


 csem tandem fabrication

Printing of polymer tandem solar modules

At CSEM Muttenz, we aim to demonstrate the feasibility of printing tandem modules using low cost mass production compatible printing techniques to fabricate fully printed tandem OPV modules. In the current work we have focused on deposition of the charge injection layers, the photoactive layers and the recombination layer by additive doctor blade coating.



Computational Modeling of Isoindigo-Based Polymers Used in Organic Solar Cells

We report a computational modeling investigation, based on DFT and TDDFT calculations, on the structural, electronic, and optical properties of three prototypical donor-acceptor polymers based on the isoindigo unit acceptor moiety, in order to calibrate a computational protocol to screen new candidate polymers and to get a better understanding of the properties of the investigated series. We were able to reproduce the experimental electrochemical and optical properties and to estimate the effective conjugation length of these polymers.



Molecular Electronic Coupling Controls Charge Recombination Kinetics in Organic Solar Cells of Low Bandgap Diketopyrrolopyrrole, Carbazole, and Thiophene Polymers

Solar cells comprising the mentioned polymers above exhibit energy losses caused by carrier recombination of approximately 100 mV, expressed as reduction in open-circuit voltage, and consequently photovoltaic conversion efficiency lowers in more than 20%. The analysis presented here unravels the origin of that energy loss by connecting the limiting mechanism governing recombination dynamics to the electronic coupling occurring at the donor polymer and acceptor fullerene interfaces. Our approach reveals how to directly connect photovoltaic parameters as open-circuit voltage to molecular properties of blended materials.


 setfos screenshot

 Release of SETFOS 3.3 "semiconducting thin film optics simulator"

SETFOS is an accurate and easy-to-use simulation software to simulate light-aborption and charge transport in solar cells as well as light-emission and charge transport in OLEDs. SETFOS can be used to perform parameter variation, optimize the device performance and extract material and device parameters from measurements.


 paios 10

Release of PAIOS 1.0 "platform for all-in-one characterization of solar cells and OLEDs"

PAIOS is a fast and flexible measurement system for characterization of solar cells and OLEDs and was developed within the SUNFLOWER project. PAIOS performs a large variety of experiments in no time with one click. Get consistent and precise measurement data, directly compare your results in the measurement software and speed up your research.



Reliable extraction of organic solar cell parameters by combining steady-state and transient techniques

At Fluxim, in collaboration with the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, we developed a method to extract reliable material and device parameters of organic solar cells. We employed a comprehensive numerical device model to simulate the solar cell operation in transient and steady-state condition and compared with different measurements such as current–voltage characteristics, photo-CELIV currents and photocurrent responses to different light pulses.


 ecotoxic effects opv

Sustainability, environmental fate and ecotoxic effects of organic photovoltaics

Organic photovoltaic solar cells are a promising new energy-delivering technology. Based on organic molecules, they are developed as an alternative to silicium-based solar cells because of their lightweight thin-layer structure, semitransparency and mechanical flexibility. Within the SUNFLOWER project, the environmental fate, ecotoxicological risks and sustainability aspects of this cutting-edge technology are investigated.