Doctor of Philosophy
In this thesis I focus on a number of aspects associated with the fabrication and characterization of organic photovoltaics. Specifically, my work focuses on evaluating solution processed graphene electrodes for use in organic photovoltaics, improving the performance of indium tin oxide transparent contacts by coating them with Au nanoparticles, and understanding the degradation pathways of Poly(3-hexylthiophene-2,5-diyl): Phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (P3HT:PCBM) organic solar cells. In my work on graphene electrodes for organic solar cells I worked out a relationship between the sheet resistance and the film transmittance that is useful to optimize such electrodes. Investigation of organic solar cell degradation in a controlled "70-70-70" test (i.e. keeping a device for 70 hours at 70oC under 70% humidity conditions) showed several possible pathways in which the active layer of these photovoltaics degrade. In addition to the typical morphological degradation, a strong increase in paramagnetic defect density in the active layer contributes to their degradation. Formation of paramagnetic defects in P3HT:PCBM layers was attributed by us to the creation of charge transfer complexes between P3HT and oxygen. Our attempts on improving indium tin oxide electrodes for their use in organic photovoltaics included a study of the effects of nucleation of Au-containing molecular nanoclusters. It was discovered that different types of Au nanoparticles with specific properties can be formed by annealing such clusters at different temperatures and under different conditions. This discovery was utilized to fabricate Au nanoparticle layers on indium tin oxide which were then utilized as plasmonic enhancement layers for organic solar cells.
Bauld, Reginald J., "Organic solar cells: electrodes, performance enhancement and degradation mechanisms" (2014). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 2619.