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Aqueous-Processed Insulating Polymer/Nanocrystal Hybrid Solar Cells

Jin, Gan, Chen, Zhaolai, Dong, Chunwei, Cheng, Zhongkai, Du, Xiaohang, Zeng, Qingsen, Liu, Fangyuan, Sun, Haizhu, Zhang, Hao, Yang, Bai
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2016 v.8 no.11 pp. 7101-7110
alcohols, annealing, cost effectiveness, nanocrystals, photovoltaic cells, polyvinyl alcohol, temperature
A novel kind of hybrid solar cell (HSC) was developed by introducing water-soluble insulating polymer poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) into nanocrystals (NCs), which revealed that the most frequently used conjugated polymer could be replaced by an insulating one. It was realized by strategically taking advantage of the characteristic of decomposition for the polymer at annealing temperature, and it was interesting to discover that partial decomposition of PVA left behind plenty of pits on the surfaces of CdTe NC films, enlarging surface contact area between CdTe NCs and subsequently evaporated MoO₃. Moreover, the residual annealed PVA filled in the voids among spherical CdTe NCs, which led to the decrease of leakage current. An improved shunt resistance (increased by ∼80%) was achieved, indicating the charge-carrier recombination was effectively overcome. As a result, the new HSCs were endowed with increased Vₒc, fill factor, and power conversion efficiency compared with the pure NC device. This approach can be applied to other insulating polymers (e.g., PVP) with advantages in synthesis, type, economy, stability, and so on, providing a novel universal cost-effective way to achieve higher photovoltaic performance.