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New Guide Available: Molybdenum Disulfide

Posted on Fri, Dec 21, 2018

Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) is an inorganic compound that is made up of molybdenum and sulfur. Oxygen and dilute acids do not have any effect on it, as it is a fairly unreactive compound. It is a member of the group of materials called 'Transition metal dichalcogenides' (TMDCs). A key characteristic shared amongst TMDCs in their bulk crystal form is that they have weak interlayer bonds (known as 'van der Waals').

Following on from the soaring interest around graphene, MoS2 has also been garnering a lot of interest from researchers due the fascinating electrical, optical, and mechanical properties held by its monolayers. Monolayer MoS2 also has several advantages over graphene, as it has a direct bandgap (graphene has an indirect bandgap).

To learn more about the properties and applications of Molybdenum Disulfide, you can read our latest guide: Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2): Theory & Applications

Meet Mary, Our Latest PhD Student Collaborator!

Posted on Thu, Dec 13, 2018

As scientists ourselves, we understand the importance of scientific collaboration between industry and academia. Over the years, we've worked together with various research groups and taken many PhD students on board with us. The latest PhD student collaborator to join us is Mary O'Kane!

Mary Ossila PhD student

Mary recently completed a internship with us. She has since started her PhD in Perovskites at the University of Sheffield with the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in New & Sustainable Photovoltaics (CDT-PV), also in collaboration with Ossila.

As part of this collaboration, Mary will continue to work with Ossila and produce theory guides for readers - so keep an eye out for those by subscribing to our newsletter, or following us on LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter!

During her internship at Ossila, Mary worked with our Dip Coater. Her main task was to use the Dip Coater to create uniform thin films with varying concentrations of PEDOT:PSS (AI 4083). We roped Mary in for a quick chat so you can find out more about her internship!

What did you work on during your internship?

Mary: My main task was to dip coat substrates with uniform thin films of various thicknesses, using different concentrations of PEDOT:PSS (AI 4083) solution and varying the temperature of the solution. I started by carrying out theoretical research on dip coating and looked up many different recipes. As it was my first time ever dip coating, it was very much a trial and error process!

Can you tell us about your experience with dip coating?

M: I didn't have much practical lab experience to begin with - most of my time in the lab previously was spent observing other researchers conduct experiments. However, l found the Dip Coater software really user-friendly and straightforward, so it was easy getting started after doing some research for beginners! Dip coating is a simple technique, and it is a great choice for when you want to scale up your device fabrication.

Ossila PhD student, Mary, working on substrates in the lab
Working with devices in the lab.

As a beginner, which feature of the Dip Coater did you find most useful?

M: I really liked how there was an option for automatic programming. It was useful because it lowers the chance of human error and increases the reproducibility. Also, as I was trying out quite a few different recipes, the automatic programming gave me confidence that any variability in my coated films was due to the different parameters I was testing, and not because I made a human error somewhere along the way!


What have you enjoyed most about your time here?

M: There was a lot of open collaboration going on. My colleagues were friendly and always willing to help whenever I had questions. My ideas and suggestions - including a few that I presented based on my experience with the Dip Coater - were always welcomed!

Ossila PhD student, Mary, using a glovebox
Coating substrates in a glovebox.

Can you let us know the area of research that your PhD focuses on?

M: My PhD focuses on perovskite solar cell (PSC) fabrication. A good thing about PSCs is that all of their layers can be solution-processed (e.g. dip coating). They've also achieved efficiencies similar to those of silicon solar cells. This makes PSCs a great candidate for large-scale manufacturing - I will be studying the feasibility of that. I think that's the plan anyway... I hear the "plan" can change a lot as you go through!


If you are a hardworking & ambitious individual who is interested in doing a placement, secondment, or internship at Ossila, please contact us.

New Customer Case Study: Power Roll

Posted on Fri, Dec 07, 2018

Award-winning startup Power Roll aims to successfully commercialise their innovative solar photovoltaic energy generation and storage technologies. Lightweight, flexible, and more affordable, Power Roll are confident that their technologies will prove extremely disruptive across various applications and markets worldwide.

For over 3 years, Power Roll have been valued customers of Ossila. They have kindly allowed us to share their story of how Ossila materials and equipment have played a major part in Power Roll's journey to commercialisation.

To learn more about how Ossila products have helped Power Roll save time, money, and increase the efficiency of their device fabrication processes, you can visit this link for the full story and video: Customer Case Study: Power Roll


New Product Upgrade: Solar Cell I-V Test System

Posted on Fri, Nov 30, 2018

The newly-upgraded Solar Cell I-V Test System is launching soon!

In December, the Ossila I-V Curve Measurement System will be upgraded. It will also be renamed to the Ossila Solar Cell I-V Test System. Both the manual and multiplexed versions of the systems will be upgraded to incorporate our new X200 Source Measure Unit - bringing greater performance, extra features, and increased usability. 

Key Upgrades & Improvements

A more relevant product name: We will rename the I-V Curve Measurement System to the Solar Cell I-V Test System. After some careful consideration, our R&D team chose this name because it is a more relevant description of the system's intended function and capabilities.

New solar cell measurement: As requested by many customers, this system now allows you to perform stabilised current measurements on your solar cells. All you need to do is set a voltage and measure device current over time, then customise the measurement for your experimental needs.

Increased maximum current capacity: The Solar Cell I-V System is now capable of delivering a maximum current of 150 mA (compared to the previous maximum of 100 mA).

Larger current ranges: The maximum current capacity of the other four ranges has also increased, meaning you can now measure higher currents before needing to change range.

Software-controlled current ranges: For safety and convenience, the current range switches can be controlled using the included PC software - so there is no need for manual adjustment.

Sleek, durable casing: The system is now completely encased in a static-free metal casing, which protects the internal circuitry.


Stay tuned for more updates!

New Guide Available: Black Phosphorus (Phosphorene)

Posted on Tue, Nov 20, 2018

Black phosphorus is one of the four allotropes of elemental phosphorus.  A monolayer of black phosphorus is known as phosphorene, in the same way that graphene is a monolayer of graphite. The term is also often used to describe several stacked monolayers, alternatively known as ‘few-layer phosphorene’ or ‘few-layer black phosphorus’.

Phosphorene was only isolated in 2014 via mechanical exfoliation. Due to the fascinating properties it possesses (e.g. a widely tunable bandgap), phosphorene is set to be the next "wonder" material in 2D optoelectronics. You can learn more about the brilliant properties and applications of phosphorene in Ossila's new guide: Black Phosphorus (Phosphorene).


New Product Upgrade: Four-Point Probe System

Posted on Fri, Nov 09, 2018

The newly-upgraded Ossila Four-Point Probe System has officially launched!


If you are looking for a quick, accurate, and easy method for measuring the sheet resistances of various materials, this system is all that you need. This latest version is built on our new X200 Source Measure Unit.

Key Upgrades & Improvements

Sleek, durable casing: The system is now completely encased in a static-free metal casing, which protects the internal circuitry.

Current range capacity increased: The Four-Point Probe System is now capable of delivering a maximum current of 150 mA (compared to the previous maximum of 100 mA).

Measure even lower sheet resistances: Following on from the point above, the system is now able to detect smaller voltage changes. As a result, you can now measure sheet resistances as low as 3 mΩ/□ (compared to the previous minimum of 10 mΩ/□).

Software-controlled current ranges: For safety and convenience, the current range switches can be controlled using the included PC software - so there is no need for manual adjustment.

Even higher accuracy: Negative polarity measurements can now be performed using the PC software - enabling you to calculate the average sheet resistance between positive and negative currents. This eliminates any voltage offsets that may have occurred, hence increasing the accuracy of your measurements. 




New Dip Coating Guide Available: Troubleshooting Defects

Posted on Thu, Oct 25, 2018

Dip coating is an incredibly simple yet effective technique for the fabrication of thin films. Affordable to set up and maintain, dip coating enables you to easily control key factors (e.g. film thickness) to produce thin films with extremely high uniformity. 


During the withdrawal phase of dip coating, the liquid either falls back into the reservoir due to gravitational forces, or is drawn up with the substrate due to surface forces.


In order to get high-quality films from dip coating, parameters (e.g. dwell/drying time, withdrawal speed) must be optimised. Additionally, atmospheric factors (e.g. cleanliness, humidity, temperature) can also influence film quality and must be monitored closely during the dip coating process. If these critical parameters and factors are not accounted for, defects can occur in the resulting thin films.

The latest guide from Ossila explains why these defects occur. It will also teach you how to identify and rectify different types of defects so that you can begin to fabricate reproducible, high-quality thin films.

You can read this guide here - Dip Coating: Troubleshooting Defects

New Theory Guide Available: OPVs vs 3rd-Gen Solar Technologies

Posted on Fri, Oct 19, 2018

Although crystalline silicon (c-Si)  is currently the preferred material in the commercial solar cell market, thin-film alternatives could potentially be flexible, more affordable, and easier to produce. Organic photovoltaics are a popular alternative to silicon.

Record efficiencies achieved for third-generation thin-film cells over time, with data shown according to a 2018 NREL efficiency report.

They fall into the category of third-generation solar technologies, which are typically described as 'emerging' technologies. Other technologies in this category include copper zinc tin sulphide (CZTS), dye-sensitised solar cells (DSSCs), quantum dot solar cells, and perovskite solar cells.

In this new theory guide, we explore the efficiencies, cost, weight, stability, and the environmental impact of several third-generation technologies in comparison to organic photovoltaics. You can learn more here: Organic Photovoltaics vs. 3rd-Generation Solar Cell Technologies

Official Product Launch: X200 Source Measure Unit

Posted on Tue, Oct 09, 2018

Ossila X200 Source Measure Unit

The brand-new X200 Source Measure Unit has officially launched!

Source voltage, measure current, get data.

It really is that simple.

No matter what your skill level is, the X200 Source Measure Unit  enables you to perform simple and precise current/voltage measurements - even without any programming knowledge! The X200 replaces its predecessor, the original X100 model (now discontinued). For more information on the differences and key improvements between the new X200 and discontinued X100, please visit this blogpost.

Designed for optimal user experience and equipped with easy-to-use PC software, the X200 incorporates two voltage sources (for measuring current) and two voltage meters (for measuring voltage). 

Start accelerating your data collection today with the high-performance, low-cost X200 Source Measure Unit

Product Upgrade Preview: The Improved X200 Source Measure Unit!

Posted on Wed, Oct 03, 2018

Having listened to customer feedback, we've added several new features to our Source Measure Unit for improved practicality and user experience. As a result, the X200 Source Measure Unit was born!

If you want to set voltages and measure currents in your experiments, but don't have any programming knowledge (or just wish there was a simpler and faster way to collect data), then the redesigned X200 Source Measure Unit is perfect for your needs!

In the short video above, Dr. Nick Scarratt explains and demonstrates some of the X200's key feature upgrades, in comparison to its predecessor (the X100).


Upgrades & Improvements

X200 Source Measure Unit
The X200 Source Measure Unit retains the same core functionality as its predecessor, and has several new upgrades and improvements


Sleek, durable casing: The Source Measure Unit is now fully encased in a static-free metal casing, which protects the internal circuitry.

Outstanding simplicity: With a new easy-to-use PC software included, you can utilise the Source Measure Unit's basic functionality - without needing any programming knowledge!

Easier, integrated user control: You can now adjust the range switches via the PC Software - no need for manual adjustment on the circuit board! The software interface shows you a live feed of the 4 different measurement channels, which can be adjusted and monitored in real-time.

Range capacities doubled: Compared to the X100, the X200's current and accuracy range limits have increased by up to twice as much (full details coming soon).

Convenient BNC connector positioning: The connectors have been rearranged in a sequence that helps reduce the likeliness of your cables getting tangled.

Software-controlled current ranges: For safety and convenience, the current range switches can be controlled using the included PC software - so there is no need for manual adjustment.

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