Journal of Coatings Technology and Research

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 65–73 | Cite as

Fluid-dynamic properties and wetting behavior of coating inks for roll-to-roll production of polymer-based solar cells

  • L. Wengeler
  • K. Peters
  • M. Schmitt
  • T. Wenz
  • P. Scharfer
  • W. Schabel


In the last decade, semiconducting and conducting materials were developed that can be processed by solvent-based deposition to form functional layers or complete electronic devices. These materials are typically synthesized in laboratory scale quantities and tested on small spin-coated substrates, whereas the final goal is to produce them on flexible substrates in a continuous roll-to-roll process. To enable a fast scale up and optimization, fluid-dynamic properties have to be known. Here, we present viscosity and surface tension data for typical material systems, applied in polymer-based solar cells. Materials presented include water-based polymer dispersions (hole-conducting and high-conductive PEDOT:PSS types), solvent-based anorganic nanoparticle dispersions (silver nanoparticle ink, hole-blocking ZnO nanoparticle ink), and dissolved organic molecules and polymers (P3HT:PCBM photoactive blend). Predictive models are proposed to approximate viscosity and surface tension for these materials at various compositions. As well, corona treatment is used to modify the surface energy of P3HT:PCBM and described as a function of web speed and corona power. The importance of material properties is demonstrated by predicting stable conditions for a slot-die coating process. A simple drying simulation highlights the possibility of using property models to investigate wetting problems.


Polymer solar cell Organic photovoltaic Printed electronics Surface tension Viscosity Surface energy Wetting Coating Slot die PEDOT:PSS P3HT PCBM ZnO nanoparticles Ag nanoparticles Corona Surfactant Triton Surfactant 



We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Baden-Württemberg-Stiftung.


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Copyright information

© American Coatings Association & Oil and Colour Chemists' Association 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Wengeler
    • 1
  • K. Peters
    • 1
  • M. Schmitt
    • 1
  • T. Wenz
    • 1
  • P. Scharfer
    • 1
  • W. Schabel
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Thermal Process Engineering, Thin Film Technology (TFT)Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)KarlsruheGermany

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