University of Vermont

Snowy Day

Organic Solar Cells Fabricated by UVM Students

Project Timeline: 
July, 2011 to May, 2012
Project Progress: 

Project Category: Research/Study

This project supported the development of a lab for two Spring 2012 courses in the Physics department: Physics 096, “Physics, Energy, and the Environment", a course recently developed and taught by Dr. Malcolm Sanders, and Physics 202, "Experimental Physics", taught by Dr. Randy Headrick.  A work-study student working with Dr. Randy Headrick helped to prepare the equipment and materials for the labs, and to develop the procedures for depositing the thin films of semiconductors and the aluminum contact layers that comprise the organic solar cells.

Students in Phys. 202 spent four full weeks (24 hours of class and lab time) working on the project, and Phys 096 spent three two hour lab sessions constructing and testing their cells.. Students lab groups constructed ten organic solar cells, and saw marked improvement in efficiencies in the second round of solar cells they built.

The CEF funded necessary equipment and material purchases, and a student assistant to prepare the lab and assist with the project. 

Clean Energy Fund Award: $15,050
Final Project Cost: $18,700


September 15, 2011Progress report from Professor Headrick.

January 25, 2012Progress report from Professor Headrick

March 26, 2012: Demonstration video of organic solar cells


From CEF: Organic Solar Cells project

April 10, 2012:  Progress Report from Professor. Headrick

Watch this video of Prof. Headrick describing how they will use the bell jar to test coat a glass slide with aluminum, in preparation for the third and final solar cell layer:


Watch this video of PHYS 202 students describing the organic solar cell materials and fabrication process: