Transparent Plasmonic Nanogrid Electrodes for Absorption Enhancement in Thin-film Organic Photovoltaics


Within solar cells the research focus is on decreasing cost, increasing efficiency and increasing the lifetime to make them competitive to fossil fuels. One of the ways to accomplish these objectives are to decrease the size and processing required but there has been issues with absorption while attempting certain methods. In addition, indium oxide is a common material used. This a limited resource as by the time we are able to meet the energy demands with solar cells we will run out of that material.  


To overcome these issued Lehigh has developed a novel method to develop a device using nano-patterned metal nano-grids. This allows for the size reduction in thickness, reducing production costs and solving the issue of efficiency. The technology results in increased broadband and polarization-intensive optical absorption for enhanced performance and reduced costs making solar energy one step closer to being competitive to fossil fuels.


Lehigh Tech ID#092412-01



The expansion of the market for affordable solar energy and the entry of new players is driving the growth of the thin film solar sector. Demand for solar power is expected to triple and analysts believe that this is likely to result in leading LCD manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, and Foxconn Technology to convert factories to thin-film solar panel production. [1,2] Thin film solar generated revenues of $4.43 billion in 2011 and will continue to expand capacity of production over the next 5 years. [3]


[1] “Thin Film Photovoltaic (PV) Cells Market Analysis to 2020.” web site. (accessed October 15, 2012).

[2] “LCD Makers May Enter Thin-Film Solar Market, Manz Says.” Bloomberg web site. (accessed October 11, 2012).

[3] “First Solar Struggles Amid Decline Of Thin-Film Solar Market.” Forbes web site. (accessed October 11, 2012).


Lehigh University is interested in identifying an industry partner.  

App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
Provisional [PR] United States 61/808,407 4/4/2013   4/4/2014
Patent Cooperation Treaty [PCT] United States PCT/US2014/032809 4/3/2014   4/9/2017
Utility United States 14/781,778 9,680,117 10/1/2015 6/13/2017  
For Information, Contact:
Rick Smith
Lehigh University
Filbert Bartoli
Beibei Zeng
Optical Elements