Organic solar cells : Novel materials, charge transport and plasmonic studies
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Organic solar cells have great potential for cost-effective and large area electricity production, but their applicability is limited by the relatively low efficiency. In this dissertation I report investigations of novel materials and the underlying principles of organic solar cells, carried out at the University of St Andrews between 2011 and 2015. Key results of this investigation: • The charge carrier mobility of organic semiconductors in the active layer of polymer solar cells has a rather small influence on the power conversion efficiency. Cooling solar cells of the polymer:fullerene blend PTB7:PC₇₁BM from room temperature to 77 K decreased the hole mobility by a factor of thousand but the device efficiency only halved. • Subphthalocyanine molecules, which are commonly used as electron donor materials in vacuum-deposited active layers of organic solar cells, can, by a slight structural modification, also be used as efficient electron acceptor materials in solution-deposited active layers. Additionally these acceptors offer, compared to standard fullerene acceptors,advantages of a stronger light absorption at the peak of the solar spectrum. • A low band-gap polymer donor material requires a careful selection of the acceptor material in order to achieve efficient charge separation and a maximum open circuit voltage. • Metal structures in nanometer-size can efficiently enhance the electric field and light absorption in organic semiconductors by plasmonic resonance. The fluorescence of a P3HT polymer film above silver nanowires, separated by PEDOT:PSS, increased by factor of two. This could be clearly assigned to an enhanced absorption as the radiative transition of P3HT was identical beside the nanowires. • The use of a processing additive in the casting solution for the active layer of organic solar cells of PTB7:PC₇₁BM strongly influences the morphology, which leads not only to an optimum of charge separation but also to optimal charge collection.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy