Darmstadt, Germany - July 25, 2011 - Merck KGaA announced today it has signed a collaboration agreement with Nano-C, Inc. of Westwood, MA, United States, a leading developer of nanostructured carbon for use in energy and electronics applications. Both companies aim to jointly develop and commercialize advanced semiconducting materials and formulations for applications in organic photovoltaics (OPV). Additionally, adding to its base of OPV materials, Merck will distribute PCBM fullerene derivative products, a family of semiconducting materials commonly used in OPV applications.
The collaboration will target the development of material systems to go beyond the performance limitations of current-generation OPV materials. It will bring together Merck's extensive experience with organic semiconducting materials and Nano-C's unique know-how and intellectual property in fullerene derivatives. Novel material concepts produced using intelligent design will enable power conversion efficiency values in excess of 10%, thereby creating new and broader market interest in organic photovoltaic technologies.
"Nano-C's world-leading expertise and IP in fullerene technology complements our extensive material portfolio in organic electronics and will enable the rapid development of commercially attractive products for the exciting area of organic photovoltaics," said Dr. Klaus Bofinger, Head of Advanced Technologies at Merck. "Merck already offers a wide range of materials and formulations for the photovoltaic industry and aims to further strengthen its position in this field," Bofinger added.
"Nano-C is pleased to have entered into this agreement with Merck, a global leader in chemicals and materials for use in electronics. This agreement builds on our expertise and intellectual property in fullerene derivative development and manufacture and combines it with Merck's leading-edge polymer development capabilities, marketing and distribution infrastructure. Our agreement with Merck solidifies our leadership position and will provide our customers with surety of supply of high-performance materials that are vital for the future of the OPV industry," said Viktor Vejins, President and CEO of Nano-C.
Under its lisicon® brand, Merck is actively working on novel organic semiconducting materials for electronic and photovoltaic applications at the Chilworth Technical Centre, its chemicals research site near Southampton, UK. Merck recently invested in the expansion of the Chilworth Technical Centre by adding new chemistry and OPV application testing laboratories to intensify and accelerate new material and formulation developments for the photovoltaics industry.
Two years ago, Nano-C announced an exclusive license from Unidym/Siemens of PCBM, a fullerene derivative widely used in the OPV industry. In addition, approximately one year ago Nano-C received EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) clearance for fullerene and PCBM manufacture on a commercial scale supporting the drive to full commercial availability.