Interface Engineering and Evaluation of Device Performance in Organic Photovoltaics
Rao, Arun Dhumal
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In recent years, organic photovoltaics (OPVs) have attracted considerable attention as a potential source of renewable energy over traditional materials due to their light weight, low production cost, mechanically stability and compatibility with flexible substrates in roll to roll processing for high volume production. In the OPVs interface plays an important role in determining the performance of the device. Interface signifies formation of efficient contact with electrode, film, and transport of free charge carrier, which results in better performance in the device. Interface engineering also helps in improving mechanical robustness of the device. Hence, understanding of interface, modification and its evaluation is important in fabrication of efficient device. In this thesis interface is modified such that the performance of the device can be improved (chapter 3 and chapter 4). In Chapter 5 and chapter 6 interface is modified such that device can be fabricated on uncommon substrate. Fabrication of device on uncommon substrates (fiber reinforced plastic and flexible glass substrate), has unique challenges. In chapter 5 and chapter 6, we look at how interface is modified to overcome the challenges associated and also understand the role of interface in improving the performance of device on such substrates is discussed. In Chapter 1 we discuss about working of organic solar cells and the challenges associated in device fabrication. Understanding of interface to overcome challenges associated is explained. It also covers brief introduction to the succeeding chapters discussed in the thesis and its recent developments. To understand the properties of interface and to analyze device performance various characterization techniques have been used are discussed in chapter 2. This chapter also covers the materials and general device fabrication techniques used in this thesis. In chapter 3, a narrow bandgap (NBG) polymer used as a near IR sensitizer in P3HT: PCBM blend. Since, P3HT with a band gap of ~1.9 eV, the commonly used p-type material absorbs approximately ~25 % of incident light. Hence, MP2 (NBG polymer) is used along with P3HT: PCBM in active layer to form a ternary blend, which helps in increased absorption. Basic properties of MP2 are evaluated using UV-visible spectroscopy, differential scanning calaorimetry(DSC), thermogravimetric analyser (TGA), gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and photoluminescence (PL) techniques. To evaluate enhanced absorption of ternary UV-visible spectroscopy is carried out. Charge transfer from one moiety to other in ternary blend is evaluated using PL and Ttime resolved microwave conductivity (TRMC). Morphology of the ternary is assessed using atomic force microscope (AFM) and structural characterization is carried out by X-ray diffraction (XRD). Performance of the device is evaluated by current-voltage (J-V) characterizations. Further improved performance is supported by external quantum efficiency (EQE). Charge extraction with linear increasing voltage (CELIV) of the device is done to evaluate the recombination mechanism in the device and to assess the performance of the device. One-dimensional (1D) ZnO nanostructures provide direct paths for charge transport, and also offer large interfacial area to make them an ideal electron transport layer. In chapter 4 highly aligned ZnO nanorods is used as electron transport layer in OPV. Growth of ZnO nanorods is two-step processes, growing seed layer and growing ZnO nanorods from hydrothermal process using an appropriate seed layer. Two different soft-chemical solution- growth methods (upward and downward) are developed to fabricate self-assembled, oriented ZnO nanorods. Substrate mounting, surface properties and optical transmittance are optimized by varying the nanorods growth conditions. Further the ZnO nanorods are UV ozone treated and its effect on performance of nanostructured buffer layer based device is evaluated. In Chapter 5 OPV is fabricated on an opaque FRP substrate. Fabrication of OPV device on opaque substrate plastic is unique and hence understanding various properties is vital. Such devices fabrication require bottom up approach, with transparent electrode as the top electrode and metal electrode on the surface of FRP. FRP has inherent rough surface of about few microns RMS roughness. In order to reduce the roughness of the substrate FRP was planarized. The planarized layer is chosen, such that it chemically binds with the substrate. The chemical interaction between substrate and planarizing coating is evaluated by FTIR and Raman spectroscopy. The binding of planarized layer and FRP is evaluated using nanoscratch technique and surface energies are studied using contact angle measurements. In addition, adhesion properties of the metal electrodes, which are deposited on planarized FRP are evaluated using nanoscratch technique. Fabrication of OPV requires a top transparent electrode. Simple spin coating technique is used to optimize the top electrode. The property of top electrode is evaluated using UV-visible spectroscopy for transmittance, and sheet resistance of the electrode is characterized. OPV device is fabricated on planarized FRP substrate using optimized top transparent electrode and its PV properties is evaluated. Performance of the device is evaluated for two different bottom electrodes and further performance of device is enhanced using buffer layers. Usually flexible OPVs are fabricated on plastic substrate such as PET, PEN. However they are not structurally stable at high temperatures and have high oxygen and moisture Permeability. In Chapter 6 Organic based photovoltaic devices were fabricated on flexible glass. Flexible glass has high strength and it is also known for low oxygen and moisture permeability. Fabrication of device on flexible glass has never been done before and hence, generation of data is necessary for commercialization of the technology. Device fabrication is optimized by using two different transparent conducting layers (ITO- sputter deposited, PEDOT: PSS-solution processed) and device performance was evaluated for both. Since the substrate is flexible in nature understanding the performance of the device during flexing is important. For this 2-parallel plate flexural apparatus is fabricated for in-situ measurements along with current voltage measurements. These devices are flexed cyclically and performance of device is evaluated. Therefore, work discussed in the thesis show by modifying the interface of the device, and understanding various interfaces of the device is crucial for improving the performance of the device. Also by engineering the interface, devices can be fabricated on various types of substrate.
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