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A study on knowledge flows of dye-sensitized solar cells’ patent

James K.C. Chen (Assistant Professor, based at Department of Business Administration, Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan.)
Van Kien Pham (PhD Student, based at Department of Business Administration, Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 3 June 2014




The purpose of this paper is to determine the development and knowledge flows of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) via the use of patent inventor database. Moreover, this study aims to explore patentees and inventors’ companies to help readers and practitioners to be able to understand the patentees, technology development and activities of knowledge flows from four countries. DSSCs, which are known as one of the key technologies of green energy, have been applied ever more widely to many different industries, and their use has quickly grown with a number of scientific publications and patent applications.


This paper was based on the US patent database collection of third-generation DSSCs in four typical countries such as USA, Japan, Germany and Taiwan to map the knowledge network of DSSC technology via the social network analysis method.


The knowledge network of 132 DSSC patents was explored. Among the four countries, Japan leads, with the main patent number being H01G009. This paper also indicates the knowledge flow situation of Japanese inventors of DSSCs. For example, patented inventors Wariishi and Koji (JP) served the Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. (JP) in 2002, and then in 2008, transferred to the Fuji Film Corporation (JP). This means that the knowledge of technology was transferred by people who moved to another company for a new job.

Research limitations/implications

This study is based on US Patent and Trademark Office patent database to do exploration.

Practical implications

This study was expected to provide information for the industry, government and academia, so that they will understand the trajectory of the technology inventor, specialist cultivation and technology development in the DSSC industry.


This study provides useful information for the green energy industry, government and academia to understand the importance of the knowledge flows and future development of DSSC technology of the solar cell industry. Thereby, they can intensify industrial competence and innovation by externally collaborating in this field as well as to increase the industrial competence by reimbursing the funds from government and other research institutes.



The authors would like to show the deepest gratitude to Dr Ming-Yeu Wang, National Chiayi University, Taiwan, for her helpful comments and suggestions. Furthermore, they also acknowledge three committee experts of IC design house in Hshinchu Science Park, Taiwan, who send the correspondence to James K. C. Chen.

The authors appreciate two reviewers of Foresight journal who have provided very excellent comments. These comments are very good to help improve the paper quality. This research was supported by General Science Research Program through the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) fund (NSC-101-2410-H-468-028). The authors also thank the research group members, Yi-Ren Chen, Yu-Shan Chen and Prof Ming-Yeu Wang, who continue to support this research.


K.C. Chen, J. and Kien Pham, V. (2014), "A study on knowledge flows of dye-sensitized solar cells’ patent", Foresight, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 229-249.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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