Reliable and accurate characterisation of photovoltaic devices
Take control of your solar cell measurements - no programming knowledge necessary
Part of the Institute of Physics award-winning Ossila Solar Cell Prototyping platform , the Ossila Solar Cell I-V System is a low-cost solution for reliable characterisation of photovoltaic devices. The PC software (included with all variants of the system) measures the current-voltage curve of a solar cell and then automatically calculates key device properties. In addition, I-V measurements can be performed periodically over time to track the stability of these properties.
The system is available with either manual or automatic pixel switching (if you are using one of Ossila's substrate systems), or without a test board for use with your own substrate and testing system or if you already own one of our test boards. Please refer to the table under the specifications tab if you are not sure which model you should choose. This system is covered by our FREE 2-year warranty.
The Ossila Source Measure Unit and Manual Solar Cell I-V Test Systems are now supplied with a global power cord that supports all major plug types (type G, type F, type A and type I). Automated systems are supplied with region specific cords; please choose the appropriate plug type before purchasing. Please contact us for more information.
Calculates Device Properties
The included PC software automatically calculates key properties of solar cells from the measured I-V curves. These properties include: the power conversion efficiency (PCE), fill factor (FF), short-circuit current density (Jsc), open-circuit voltage (Voc), maximum power (Pmax), shunt resistance (Rsh), and series resistance (Rs).
If you are using one of our substrate systems, the Solar Cell I-V System can be purchased with a multiplexing test board (just select the 'automated' variant of your choice in the drop-down list), which enables automatic pixel switching. As an added bonus, the temperature and light will also be recorded during the measurement!
Just plug in the system, install the PC software, and you're ready to go! The intuitive interface and clean design makes the Solar Cell I-V System easy-to-use, simplifying the characterisation of solar cells.
Wide Measurement Range
The built-in source measure unit is capable of delivering voltages between -10 V and +10 V, with a maximum resolution of 333 μV, and measuring currents from as low as ±10 nA up to ±200 mA.
Measure Device Stability
By performing repeated current-voltage measurements over an extended period of time, the stability of key device properties can be tracked.
Multiple System Types Available
Choose from our range of system types (automated, manual, or source measure unit only) depending on your requirements. If you are unsure which model to select, refer to our comparison table on the specifications tab or contact us for advice.
|System Type||No Test Board||Manual||Multiplexer|
|±10 V Source Range||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|±333 μV Source Resolution||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|±200 mA Measurement Range||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|±10 nA Measurement Resolution||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Automatic Solar Cell Characterisation||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Single Pixel Solar Lifetime Measurement||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|For Use With S2006, S101, S211, or S171 Substrates||No||Yes||Yes|
|Automatic Pixel Switching||No||No||Yes|
|Multiple Pixels Solar Lifetime Measurement||No||No||Yes|
Please note that a solar simulator (not included) is needed to obtain standard efficiency measurements. Ossila does not currently supply solar simulators.
Getting Started with the Ossila Solar Cell I-V Test System
Current-Voltage Measurements (I-V curves)
Current-voltage measurements (I-V curves) are the primary measurement for charactising solar cells. Here, the current flowing through the device is measured at different voltages whilst it is under illumination. There are several key properties that can be extracted from the I-V curve of a solar.
The short-circuit current density (Jsc) is the photogenerated current density of the solar cell when there is no driving voltage, and can be extracted from the intercept with the y-axis.
The open-circuit voltage (Voc) is the voltage at which the applied voltage cancels out the built-in electric field, and can be extracted from the intercept with the x-axis.
The fill factor (FF) is the ratio of the actual output power of the device to its power if there were no parasitic resistances. This can be calculated by dividing the maximum power output of the device by the product of the Jsc and the Voc (the potential maximum power).
Finally, the power conversion efficiency (PCE), the ratio of incident light power (Pin) to output electrical power ( (Pout), can be calculated.
For a more in-depth explanation about the characterisation of solar cells, see our guide on solar cell theory and measurement.
Power Conversion Efficiency (PCE) Equation
The Power Conversion Efficiency (PCE) of a solar cell can be calculated from the ratio of incident light power (Pin) to output electrical power (Pout) using the following equation:
Here, as above, Jsc is the short-circuit current density, Voc is the open-circuit voltage, and FF is the fill factor.
Resources and Support
Solar Cell I-V Test System Specifications
|Voltage Source||±333 μV to ±10 V|
|Current Measurement||±10 nA to ±200 mA|
|Substrate Size||20 mm x 15 mm or 25 mm x 25 mm|
|Substrate Compatibility - T2002A/T2003A||S101 (OLED substrates)|
|Substrate Compatibility - T2002B/T2003B||S211 (PV substrates)|
|Substrate Compatibility - T2002B/T2003C||S171 (Pixelated cathode substrates)|
|Substrate Compatibility - T2002E/T2003E||S2006 (ITO Glass Substrates - PV and OLED 25mm Square)|
|Overall Dimensions - Manual||
Source Measure Unit: Width: 125 mm; Height: 55 mm; Depth: 185 mm
Test Board: Width: 105 mm; Height: 40 mm; Depth: 125 mm
|Overall Dimensions - Automated||Width: 155 mm; Height: 73 mm; Depth: 317 mm|
System Selection Guide
The table below will help you determine which system is right for you. The manual version of the system has switches on the test board itself, which the user operates to measure the different pixels on a solar cell device. The automated version of the system uses a multiplexing test board, which switches between these pixels automatically. Note, if you use one of our substrates listed in the table and another kind of substrate as well, we recommend manual pixel switching, as the test board can be detached and replaced with another one.
|Pixel Switching||S211||S101||S171||S2006||Other Substrates|
|Automated||Automated - S211 (T2003B)||Automated - S101 (T2003A)||Automated - S171 (T2003C)||Automated - S2006 (T2003E)||-|
|Manual||Manual - S211 (T2002B)*||Manual - S101 (T2002A)||Manual - S171 (T2002B)*||Manual - S2006 (T2002E)||-|
|Source Measure Unit Only||-||-||-||-||Source Measure Unit Only (T2002D)|
*Both the Manual - S211 and Manual - S171 use the same test board and product code.
The current-voltage measurement is controlled using intuitive and user-friendly PC software. All of the measurements can be fully customised, allowing you to tailor the software to your experiment.
With the PC software, you can:
- Perform current-voltage measurements anywhere between -10 and 10V.
- Take high resolution measurements, with voltage increments as low as 333 µV.
- Manage the experiment more directly, with custom settle times between applying voltage and measuring current.
- Measure device hysteresis by perform consecutive measurements in forwards and backward directions.
The software has 3 measurement tabs: Solar Cell Characterisation, Stabilised Current Output, and Solar Lifetime Measurement. 'Characterisation' performs I-V measurements and calculates the important device properties, the 'Stabilised Current' tab allows you to determine how the current output of your device evolves over time using, and the 'Lifetime' tab enables you to track key device properties (PCE, FF, Jsc, Voc) over an extended time by performing periodic I-V characterisation. Between measurements the solar cell can be held at open-circuit, short-circuit, or maximum power.
Data is saved to .csv (comma-separated values) files, which are formatted to be easy to read and analyse. Settings are saved along with the data, making it easier to keep a record of the parameters used for each experiment. These settings files can be loaded by the program, and settings profiles can be saved for each different measurement type, allowing you to easily perform repeat measurements or use particular configurations.
Key Software Features
- Simple and intuitively-designed interface
- Data saved to .csv file
- Calculates solar cell properties (PCE, FF, Jsc, Voc, Pmax, Rsh, Rs)
- Track properties over time
- Measure the stabilised current output of a solar cell
- Save and load previously used settings
|Operating System||Windows 10 (32-bit or 64-bit)|
|CPU||Dual Core 2 GHz|
|Available Hard Drive Space||192 MB|
|Monitor Resolution||1680 x 1050|
|Connectivity||USB 2.0, or Ethernet (requires DHCP)|
To the best of our knowledge the information provided here is accurate. However, Ossila assume no liability for the accuracy of this page. The values provided are typical at the time of manufacture and may vary over time and from batch to batch. All products are for laboratory and research and development use only, and may not be used for any other purpose including health care, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food or commercial applications.