NJ recognizes Princeton team for clean energy startup

November 13, 2020

Princeton University and a team of engineering researchers received an Edison Patent Award Nov. 12 from the Research and Development Council of New Jersey in honor of their invention and commercialization of transparent solar cells that serve as a power supply for smart windows and help lower cost and energy use to heat and cool buildings.

The R&D Council gave the award at its 41st Edison Patent Awards, held online this year, to honor the best patented innovations from 2020 across the state. Winners from a range of arenas – industry, academia, and government – are selected each year by the R&D Council. Patents and research teams are nominated and evaluated based on the significance of the problem addressed, and the potential for social and economic value, as well as commercial impact. The Princeton team, including inventors Yueh-Lin (Lynn) Loo, Nicholas Davy, and Melda Sezen-Edmonds, received a patent award in the energy category for “Single-Junction Organic Photovoltaic Devices Having High Open-Circuit Voltages and Applications” (U.S. Patent 10,476,018). Princeton University has licensed this patent to Andluca Technologies.

The technology spun out of Loo’s organic and polymer electronics laboratory. Loo is the director of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, the Theodora D. ’78 & William H. Walton III ’74 Professor in Engineering, and professor of chemical and biological engineering. Davy and Sezen-Edmonds were graduate students in Loo’s lab. Davy is the cofounder and CEO of Andluca Technologies and Sezen-Edmonds is now a research investigator at Bristol-Meyers Squibb.

Andrea Goldsmith, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, said the Andluca startup exemplifies Princeton’s strength in advancing new knowledge through fundamental research as well as applying that knowledge to technology innovations that benefit humanity.

“The Edison Award is such a wonderful and fitting honor for Lynn Loo and her team,” said Goldsmith, who is also the Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical Engineering. “Lynn and her students started from a deep curiosity about polymer materials and their potential for practical uses. Now they’ve taken that curiosity all the way to develop a transparent solar technology that enables smart windows to be self-powered and therefore useful for retrofitting existing buildings. This innovation will significantly enhance energy efficiency of older building constructions for many decades to come,” Goldsmith said.

In 2019, Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber received the Educator of the Year award from the R&D Council.