* Former members
SOPPOM - developed know-how
SOPPOM was launched in 2010 as a SIM program focusing on the formation of photovoltaic modules by solution based processing (thin films). It involved multiple industrial and academic partners, each bringing in specific scientific and technological know-how and recognizing market opportunities. In total, 4 SBO projects and 3 ICON projects have been initiated within the SOPPOM program, each with specific partial objectives within the broad program level aim to develop printed solar cells. It concerns the following projects:
The SOPPOM program faced a steep learning curve and eventually, printed CIGS solar cells were developed with a close to 5% conversion efficiency. However, as from 2011, the massive supply of affordable Si-based PV modules by Chinese manufacturers invalidated the economic rationale underlying low-cost printed PV and thus the original roadmap of the SOPPOM program.
However, the original idea underlying the SOPPOM program applies to far more product areas than photovoltaics: in the field of electronics, photonics or energy, printing is pursued as a low cost and substrate independent manufacturing technology. Examples include: electronic circuitry, lighting devices or batteries.
Within this broader context of printed functionalities, the SOPPOM results constitute highly generic know-how that is often transferrable from one particular application to another. This includes: knowledge regarding precursors, ink formulation, processing of precursors into films, coatings or sheets using various printing approaches, and regarding equipment: a unique and versatile automated platform for the formation of nanocrystals has been developed and installed to bridge the gap between lab scale quantities and volumes needed for first tests in industrial environment.
SOPPOM+ - broadened scope
Given this body of know-how developed within SOPPOM and the more general need for printing as manufacturing technology within diverse fields, it was concluded that the scope of the original SOPPOM program could be broadened towards printed functionalities in general. Three main directions are foreseen (see also figure below):
- Printed electronics
- Printed photonics
- Printed energy
A first project within this broadened “SOPPOM+” scope is the ICON “METALINK”, exploring a number of technologies for printing of metallic inks for conductive functionalities.