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Light Trapping and Alternative Electrodes for Organic Photovoltaic Devices  PDF

Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary
Kristofer Tvingstedt
Publication Year
<p>Organic materials, such as conjugated polymers, have emerged as a promising alternative for the production of inexpensive and flexible photovoltaic cells. As conjugated polymers are soluble, liquid based printing techniques enable production on large scale to a price much lower than that for inorganic based solar cells. Present day state of the art conjugated polymer photovoltaic cells are comprised by blends of a semiconducting polymer and a soluble derivative of fullerene molecules. Such bulk heterojunction solar cells now show power conversion efficiencies of up to 4-6%. The quantum efficiency of thin film organic solar cells is however still limited by several processes, of which the most prominent limitations are the comparatively low mobility and the high level of charge recombination. Hence organic cells do not yet perform as well as their more expensive inorganic counterparts. In order to overcome this present drawback of conjugated polymer photovoltaics, efforts are continuously devoted to developing materials or devices with increased absorption or with better charge carrier transporting properties. The latter can be facilitated by increasing the mobility of the pure material or by introducing beneficial morphology to prevent carrier recombination. Minimizing the active layer film thickness is an alternative route to collect more of the generated free charge carriers. However, a minimum film thickness is always required for sufficient photon absorption.</p><p>A further limitation for low cost large scale production has been the dependence on expensive transparent electrodes such as indium tin oxide. The development of cheaper electrodes compatible with fast processing is therefore of high importance.</p><p>The primary aim of this work has been to increase the absorption in solar cells made from thin films of organic materials. Device construction, deploying new geometries, and evaluation of different methods to provide for light trapping and photon recycling have been strived for. Different routes to construct and incorporate light trapping structures that enable higher photon absorption in a thinner film are presented. By recycling the reflected photons and enhancing the optical path length within a thinner cell, the absorption rate, as well as the collection of more charge carriers, is provided for. Attempts have been performed by utilizing a range of different structures with feature sizes ranging from nanometers up to centimeters. Surface plasmons, Lambertian scatterers, micro lenses, tandem cells as well as larger folded cell structures have been evaluated. Naturally, some of these methods have turned out to be more successful than others. From this work it can nevertheless be concluded that proper light trapping, in thin films of organic materials for photovoltaic energy conversion, is a technique capable of improving the cell performance.</p><p>In addition to the study of light trapping, two new alternative electrodes for polymer photovoltaic devices are suggested and evaluated.</p>