Indexed on: 17 May '20Published on: 15 May '20Published in: Nanomaterials (Basel, Switzerland)
Fabricating polymer solar cells (PSCs) on flexible polymer substrates, instead of on hard glass, is attractive for implementing the advantage and uniqueness of the PSCs represented by mechanically rollable and light-weight natures. However, simultaneously achieving reliable robustness and high-power conversion efficiency (PCE) in such flexible PSCs is still technically challenging due to poor light harvesting of thin photoactive polymers. In this work, we report a facile, effective strategy for improving the light-harvesting performance of flexible PSCs without sacrificing rollability. Very high transparent (93.67% in 400–800 nm) and low sheet resistance (~10 Ω sq−1) ZnO/Ag(O)/ZnO electrodes were implemented as the flexible substrates. In systematically comparison with ZnO/Ag/ZnO electrodes, small amount of oxygen induced continuous metallic films with lower thickness, which resulted in higher transmittance and lower sheet resistance. To increase the light absorption of thin active layer (maintain the high rollability of active layer), a unique platform simultaneously utilizing both a transparent electrode configuration based on an ultrathin oxygen-doped Ag, Ag(O), and film and plasmonic Ag@SiO2 nanoparticles were designed for fully leveraging the advantages of duel microresonant cavity and plasmonic effects to enhance light absorbance in photoactive polymers. A combination of the ZnO/Ag(O)/ZnO electrode and Ag@SiO2 nanoparticles significantly increased the short-current density of PSCs to 17.98 mA cm−2 with enhancing the photoluminescence of PTB7-Th film. The flexible PSC using the optimized configuration provided an average PCE of 8.04% for flexible PSCs, which was increased by 36.27% compared to that of the PSC merely using a conventional transparent indium tin oxide electrode.