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Printing Light Harvesting Biological “Devices” and other Functional Materials Applicable to Organic Photovoltaics

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Many processing steps in the manufacturing of organic photovoltaics require solution processing. Inkjet printing is a facile method for depositing solutions into patterned thin films. Piezoelectric inkjet printing is a thermally consistent process, thereby protecting the tertiary structure of organic molecules that convert optical power to electrical power. We have taken several steps back from device manufacturing and worked out the details of inkjet printing light harvesting bacteria, more specifically photosynthetic cyanobacteria. Each individual single-celled organism is a functioning biological photovoltaic device that works with only the input of water as an electron donor for the photosynthetic reaction. In addition, these cells harvest photons from a variety of wavelengths so that they function more efficiently in heterogeneous light environments. An added bonus is that their byproduct is pure oxygen and conversely, they use C02 as a food source, thus removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In these biological organic photovoltaic devices, a series of photochemical reactions occur through a thylakoid-containing internal membrane structure underneath their gelatinous cell wall. We will show the successful thin film patterning of these cells, and we will also show their light emission characteristics. In addition, we will show their carbohydrate production yields highlighting their ability to use light to form energy that can be converted easily into electricity. Finally, we will show other patterned thinfilms of organic photovoltaic relevant materials including conductive silver used in cathodes, carbon nanotubes used as transparent conductors, conjugated polymers used in the active layer and quantum dots, band gap acceptor materials that also function in non-white light environments. Finally, this talk will discuss the impact of inkjet printing on the photovoltaic market and highlight the research efforts of leaders in this field.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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