Economical, Practical and High-Performance Photovoltaics by Incorporation of Wrinkles and Folds

Web Published:

Princeton Docket # 11-2701


Optical manipulation of light has become an increasingly popular strategy to enhance light harvesting efficiencies in opto-electronic devices.  Despite recent advances in nano-scale patterning techniques that have enabled the creation of discrete metallic building blocks or continuous metallic films having nano-hole arrays, the necessity to precisely engineer and accurately place such objects at pre-specified spacings and at appropriate interfaces over large areas has precluded the practical adoption of this strategy to enhance light harvesting efficiencies in opto-electronic devices.


Researchers at Princeton University have developed novel photonic structures for photovoltaic and other optoelectronic applications.  By introducing wrinkles and deep folds ¿ easily accomplished processing methodologies that are low-cost and amendable over large substrate areas ¿ to surfaces onto which polymer photovoltaics are constructed, these devices demonstrate substantial improvements in light harvesting efficiencies, particularly in the near-infrared region where light absorption has otherwise been minimal.  This straightforward introduction of surface photonic structures has not only effectively extended the useful range of solar spectrum for photocurrent generation, it has substantially increased the mechanical robustness of devices.



·         Photovoltaic devices

·         Other optoelectronic devices



·         > 40% increase in solar cell efficiency

·         > 600% augmentation in the external quantum efficiency for the near-infrared light

·         > 200 nm of wavelength extension in the useful range of solar energy conversion

·         Low cost to manufacture

·         Straightforward, non-chemical approach

·         Ease of implementation

·         Mechanical robustness (enhanced bendability)


Faculty Inventors

Yueh-Lin Loo is Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Deputy Director of Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University.  Her research is in the area of materials chemistry and physics of complex, soft materials. Specifically, the Loo group is interested in electrically-active polymeric and molecular materials. Most notable among the many honors, Professor Loo was selected by the World Economic Forum as a member of the 2012 class of Young Global Leader; she received the John H. Dillon Medal (American Physical Society, 2010), Sloan Research Fellowship in Chemistry (2008), and Allan P. Colburn Award (American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2006).  She was also named World's top 100 Young Innovator by MIT Technology Review in 2004.


Howard Stone is the Donald R. Dixon '69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University.  His research has been concerned with a variety of fundamental problems in fluid motions dominated by viscosity, so-called low Reynolds number flows, and has frequently featured a combination of theory, computer simulation and modeling, and experiments to provide a quantitative understanding of the flow phenomenon under investigation.  Prof. Stone is the recipient of the most prestigious fluid mechanics prize, the Batchelor Prize 2008, for best research in fluid mechanics in the last ten years.  He is also part of the Class of 2011 inductees of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Jason Fleischer is Associate Professor of Electric Engineering at Princeton University.  His research focuses on nonlinear optics and computational imaging. The emphasis is on propagation problems that are universal to wave systems, taking advantage of the fact that optical systems allow easy control of the input and direct imaging of the output.  Among the numerous awards and honors Professor Fleischer has received are Fellowship in the Optical Society of America (2011), a Department of Energy Plasma Physics Junior Faculty Award (2008), and the Emerson Electric Company Lawrence Keys '51 Faculty Advancement Award (2007).


Intellectual Property Status

Patent protection is pending.


Princeton is seeking to identify appropriate partners for the further development and commercialization of this technology.



Michael Tyerech

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing



Laurie Bagley

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Tony Williams
Princeton University
Yueh-Lin (Lynn) Loo
Jongbok Kim
Pilnam Kim
Howard Stone
Nicolas Pegard
Jason Fleischer
Opto-Electronics/ELE ENG
solar cell