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Konarka acquires Siemens expertise

08 Sep 2004

The US developer of thin film polymer solar cells buys Siemens' organic photovoltaic research activities.

Konarka Technologies, the US developer of polymer solar cell technology, has acquired Siemens' organic photovoltaic research activities for an undisclosed sum.

The deal brings together two of the leading efforts to create solar cells that are based on flexible polymer materials. It also gives Konarka a presence in Germany, an important developer and adopter of renewable energy sources.

"The Siemens team showed the first polymer cells with efficiencies above five percent," said Andreas Brinkrolf, CEO of Siemens Technology Accelerator which was responsible for commercializing the technology. "Now we look to Konarka, with its strong management team and solid technology base, to secure and leverage the value we've created."

Konarka not only gains ownership of Siemens' intellectual property (IP) in the area, but also its research team headed by Christoph Brabec. Brabec will become Konarka's director of polymer photovoltaic research while Thomas Grandke, head of Siemens' materials and microsystems department, will join Konarka's scientific advisory council.

"This [acquisition] puts three of the most recognized pioneers in conductive polymers all on the same team, along with our new scientists who have already shown what they can do, achieving some of the highest efficiency levels for plastic photovoltaics yet," said Konarka's founding scientist, Alan Heeger. "Konarka has the knowledge, personnel and manufacturing process in place to be the first to apply photovoltaic nanotechnology to viable commercial products that change the way we use electricity."

The Siemens acquisition is the latest in a series of deals that Konarka has made. Earlier this year, it acquired IP from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and Dupont in the US.

Oliver Graydon is editor of Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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