Flipping the Switch: Keeping the Lights On Via a Transition to Organic Photovoltaics

Stephen Archuleta

Reader: Jim Seibert


As human civilization becomes ever-more industrialized, excessive greenhouse gas emissions are fueling global warming and climate change. With the effects of these phenomenon already being observed, we are quickly approaching a tipping point where our general apathy towards disturbances in the earth's natural systems will cause global devastation. In order to fight this apathy, society must turn to activism, namely through breaking our fossil fuel addiction and investing in renewable energy. However, not all forms of renewable energy are created equal; solar energy is the most abundant, requires the least infrastructure, and has the greatest future research potential. Within the realm of solar research, organic photovoltaics (OPVs) provide a promising alternative to today's costly siliconbased solar cells. OPVs are thin, lightweight, and flexible solar panels with a multitude of interesting applications, including portable electronics, cars, windows, buildings, etc. In this thesis, the process of electricity generation and photonic upconversion, the molecules used in the different layers and their electrical and molecular properties, and the design and construction processes of the solar cell are all discussed in depth in their respective chapters. With this developing area of solar technology, we will be able to bring electricity to developing nations and reduce our environmental footprint.