PHD STUDENT, INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE EDUCATION AND RESEARCH, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM (IISER-TVM)
I fabricate and characterise bulk heterojunction organic solar cells with interfacial layer engineer
I work in the field of bulk heterojunction organic solar cells, a hot field currently discussed all over the world, where I study the fundamental processes in polymer- based solar cells, the role of interfacial layers in charge extraction and recombination. We, in our lab, fabricate different inverted structures using polymer-fullerene blends, engineer interfacial layers and do studies in photocurrent carriers, recombination mechanisms etc. Studies on charge generation in bulk heterojunction solar cell using different interfacial layers are also carried out. One of the structures fabricated in the air has got a high efficiency of 9.1% with a good fill factor (Journal of Physical Chemistry C (DOI:10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b01314)). I also work on plasmonic solar cells, which has got some good results of 5.46% in the bulk heterojunction solar cell. The effect of different shape and size of metal nanoparticles in various layers of the organic solar cell are also studied. I also have expertise in analyzing UV-visible absorption spectra, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images, atomic force microscopy (AFM) images and X-Ray diffraction (XRD) patterns.
Abstract: In bulk heterojunction (BHJ) solar cells, the buffer layer plays a vital role in enhancing the power conversion efficiency (PCE) by improving the charge carrier dynamics. A comprehensive understanding of the contacts is especially essential in order to optimize the performance of organic solar cells (OSCs). Although there are several fundamental reports on this subject, a proper correlation of the physical processes with experimental evidence at the photoactive layer and contact materials is essential. In this work, we incorporated three different additional buffer layers, namely, tris(8-hydroxyquinolinato) aluminum (Alq3), bathophenanthroline (BPhen) or bathocuproine (BCP) with LiF/Al as conventional cathode contact in both rrP3HT:PC61BM and rrP3HT:PC71BM blend BHJ solar cells and their corresponding photovoltaic performances were systematically correlated with their energy level diagram. The device with dual cathode buffer layer having ITO/PEDOT:PSS/blend polymer/BCP/LiF/Al configuration showed the best device performance with PCE, η = 4.96%, Jsc = 13.53 mA/cm2, Voc = 0.60 V and FF= 61% for rrP3HT:PC71BM and PCE, η = 4.5% with Jsc = 13.3 mA/cm2, Voc = 0.59 V and FF = 59% for rrP3HT:PC61BM. This drastic improvement in PCE in both the device configurations are due to the combined effects of better hole-blocking capacity of BCP and low work function provided by LiF/Al with the blend polymer. These results successfully explain the role of dual cathode buffer layers and their contribution to the PCE improvement and overall device performance with rrP3HT:PCBM based BHJ solar cell.
Pub.: 14 Apr '16, Pinned: 01 Jul '17
Abstract: In this work the program AMPS-1D was used to optimize the performance of the organic solar cells. The cells considered consist of poly(3-HexylThiophène) [P3HT] as electron donors, and (6,6)-phenyl- C61-butyric acid methyl ester [PCBM] as electron acceptor, (P3HT/PCBM) is used as photo-active material, sandwiched between a transparent indium tin oxide (ITO) and layer of poly(3,4 ethylenedioxythiophene)/ poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT/PSS) on top of the ITO electrode and an AL backside contact. The results showed that the optimum thickness of the solar cell is about 400 nm, Voc = 0.61 at T = 300 K. This is in the good agreement with the corresponding computer simulation value of 0.63 V. The maximum limit for the organic solar cell efficiency is about 8%, provided that the band-gap of the cell is about 1.5 eV.
Pub.: 20 Sep '16, Pinned: 01 Jul '17
Abstract: In a high performance PTB7:PC71BM bulk-heterojunction (BHJ) solar cell, the commonly optimized polymer:fullerene (D:A) weight ratio is about 1:1.5, when PC71BM is used as the acceptor. This report explores alternative D:A weight ratios. We describe how to enrich the polymer contents of these BHJ solar cells to achieve high power conversion efficiencies (PCEs). The concentration of 1,8-diiodooctane (DIO), a solvent additive for the BHJ precursor solutions, is increased in order to re-optimize the BHJ cells. The PCEs of the re-optimized cells are improved for the PTB7 cells. Detailed charge transport measurements were carried out to examine the polymer-rich BHJs. We observed enhanced hole mobilities for the PTB7 BHJs. Additionally, the electron mobilities are preserved due to the dispersion of fullerene domains by increased DIO concentrations. Two other well-known polymer donors PCDTBT and PDTSTPD have been also investigated, and the improvements of hole mobilities and PCEs can be obtained for both polymer-rich BHJ solar cells.
Pub.: 26 Oct '16, Pinned: 01 Jul '17
Abstract: We demonstrate a hybrid solar cell which was made by blending nanocrystalline ZnO (nc-ZnO) and conjugated polymer regioregular poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) as the active layer of the solar cell. It can be seen that the efficiency of this new type of solar cells obviously varied as the size and morphology of ZnO nanostructures. The short-circuit photocurrent, fill factor, and power conversion efficiency were enhanced while the smaller nc-ZnO was utilized in such a device.
Pub.: 03 Mar '10, Pinned: 01 Jul '17
Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) in an inverted polymer/fullerene solar cell by incorporating Au and/or Ag nanoparticles (NPs) into the TiO2 buffer layer. Enhanced light harvesting via plasmonic resonance of metal NPs has been observed. It results in improved short-circuit current density (Jsc) while the corresponding open-circuit voltage (Voc) is maintained. A maximum power conversion efficiency of 7.52% is obtained in the case of introducing 30% Ag NPs into the TiO2, corresponding to a 20.7% enhancement compared with the reference device without the metal NPs. The device photovoltaic characteristics, photocurrent properties, steady-state and dynamic photoluminescences of active layer on metal NP-doped TiO2, and electric field profile in metal NP-doped TiO2 layers are systematically investigated to explore how the plasmonic effects of Au and/or Ag NPs influence the OSC performance.
Pub.: 21 Mar '13, Pinned: 01 Jul '17
Abstract: A hybrid plasmonic polymer solar cell, in which plasmonic metallic nanostructures (such as Ag, Au, and Pt nanoparticles) are embedded in the active layer, has been under intense scrutiny recently because it provides a promising new approach to enhance the efficiency of the device. We propose a brand new hybrid plasmonic nanostructure, which combines a plasmonic metallic nanostructure and one-dimensional semiconductor nanocrystals, to enhance the photocurrent of the device through a strong localized electric field and an enhanced charge transport channel. We demonstrate that when Ag nanoparticle decorated TiO2 nanorods were introduced into the active layer of polymer-fullerene based bulk heterojunction solar cells, the photocurrent significantly increased to 14.15 mA cm(-2) from 6.51 mA cm(-2) without a decrease in the open voltage; thus, the energy conversion efficiency was dramatically enhanced to 4.87% from 2.57%.
Pub.: 07 May '14, Pinned: 01 Jul '17
Abstract: We report a new strategy for ligand-free attachment of plasmonic Au nanoparticles on the surface of a ZnO nanowire to make high-performance broadband photodetectors using a pulsed laser ablation technique in a liquid medium. The photoresponse of the ZnO-based photodetector is enhanced and the photodetection limit is broadened from UV to visible, which can be controlled by varying the concentration of Au nanoparticles attached to the ZnO surface. This Au nanoparticle concentration can be tuned by varying the number of laser pulses used in the ablation process. We found that the responsivity of the detector is 10 mA W(-1) for [Formula: see text] and increases to as much as 0.4 A W(-1) for λ ≤ 400 nm for the maximum Au concentration. The enhanced responsivity was found to be linked to increased absorption over a broad spectral range arising from direct and indirect plasmonic processes due to Au nanoparticle attachment, and the enhanced absorption also leads to a large increment in photocurrent generation. We also found that the attachment of Au nanoparticles makes the relaxation of the photocurrent (persistence) considerably faster in both the UV and visible regions of the spectrum and that the persistence directly depends on the concentration of Au nanoparticles attached to the ZnO nanowire. This single-step pulsed laser ablation-based nanoparticle attachment process can be further used to make other plasmonic nanoparticle-decorated nanowire devices.
Pub.: 29 Jun '17, Pinned: 01 Jul '17
Abstract: A novel, star-shaped electron acceptor, DMTPA-PDI3, derived from a planar dimethylmethylene-bridged triphenylamine core with three acetylene-linked perylene diimide (PDI) units is developed as a nonfullerene acceptor for organic solar cells (OSCs). DMTPA-PDI3 manifests significantly reduced intramolecular twisting, enabling sufficient system-wide π-electron delocalization leading to broadened spectral absorption and raised lowest unoccupied molecular orbital level. As a result, higher and more balanced hole and electron transport properties are observed. Active layers for OSCs comprising DMTPA-PDI3 acceptor and PBT7-Th donor exhibit suppressed intermolecular aggregation, giving rise to uniform nanophase network formation. These OSC devices have afforded respectably high power-conversion efficiency of about 5%.
Pub.: 22 Jun '17, Pinned: 01 Jul '17
Abstract: Blends of poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and the bis-adduct of [6,6]-phenyl-C(61)-butyric acid methyl ester (bisPCBM) show enhanced performances in bulk-heterojunction solar cells compared to P3HT:PCBM thin films due to their higher open-circuit voltage. However, it is not clear whether the decrease of the short-circuit current observed in P3HT-bisPCBM blends originates from the 100 mV reduction of the offset between the lowest unoccupied molecular orbitals of the donor and the acceptor or from a change in the morphology. The analysis of the photoluminescence dynamics of the various bulk heterojunctions provides information on the dependence of the electron transfer process on their microstructure. We find that in solution, where the donor-acceptor distribution is homogeneous, the photoluminescence dynamics is the same for the bis- and PCBM-based blends, while in thin films the first shows a slower dynamics than the second. This result indicates that the reduction of the LUMO offset of approximately 100 meV does not influence the electron transfer efficiency but that the diversity between the photoluminescence dynamics in thin films should be ascribed to the different microstructure of the bulk heterojunctions fabricated with the two acceptors.
Pub.: 10 Dec '09, Pinned: 16 Jun '17
Abstract: This article reviews the charge transport and photogeneration in bulk-heterojunction solar cells made from blend films of regioregular poly(3-hexylthiophene) (RR-P3HT) and methano-fullerene (PCBM). The charge transport, specifically the hole mobility in the RR-P3HT phase of the polymer:fullerene photovoltaic blend, is dramatically affected by thermal annealing. The hole mobility increases more than three orders of magnitude and reaches a value of up to 2 × 10(-4) cm(2) V(-1) s(-1) after the thermal annealing process as a result of an improved semi-crystallinity of the film. This significant increase of the hole mobility balances the electron and hole mobilities in a photovoltaic blend in turn reducing space-charge formation, and this is the most important factor for the strong enhancement of the photovoltaic efficiency compared to an as cast, that is, non-annealed device. In fact, the balanced charge carrier mobility in RR-P3HT:PCBM blends in combination with a field- and temperature-independent charge carrier generation and greatly reduced non-geminate recombination explains the large quantum efficiencies mea-sured in P3HT:PCBM photovoltaic devices.
Pub.: 06 May '15, Pinned: 16 Jun '17
Abstract: Exciton generation, dissociation, free carrier transport, and charge extraction play an important role in the short-circuit current (Jsc) and power conversion efficiency of an organic bulk heterojunction (BHJ) solar cell (SC). Here we study the impact of band offset at the interfacial layer and the morphology of active layer on the extraction of free carriers. The effects are evaluated on an inverted BHJ SC using zinc oxide (ZnO) as a buffer layer, prepared via two different methods: ZnO nanoparticle dispersed in mixed solvents (ZnO A) and sol–gel method (ZnO B). The device with ZnO A buffer layer improves the charge extraction and Jsc. The improvement is due to the better band offset and morphology of the blend near the ZnO A/active layer interface. Further, the numerical analysis of current–voltage characteristics illustrates that the morphology at the ZnO A/active layer interface has a more dominant role in improving the performance of the organic photovoltaic than the band offset.
Pub.: 21 Feb '17, Pinned: 16 Jun '17
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