Hybrid Photovoltaic Devices of Polymer and ZnO Nanofiber Composites

Dana C. Olson, Jorge Piris, Reuben T. Collins, Sean E. Shaheen, David S. Ginley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

501 Scopus Citations


Organic semiconductor-based photovoltaic devices offer the promise of a low-cost photovoltaic technology that could be manufactured via large-scale, roll-to-roll printing techniques. Existing organic photovoltaic devices have currently achieved solar power conversion efficiencies greater than 3%. Although encouraging, the reasons higher efficiencies have not been achieved are poor overlap between the absorption spectrum of the organic chromophores and the solar spectrum, non-ideal band alignment between the donor and acceptor species, and low charge carrier mobilities resulting from the disordered nature of organic semiconductors. To address the latter issues, we are investigating the development of nanostructured oxide/conjugated polymer composite photovoltaic (PV) devices. These composites can take advantage of the high electron mobilities attainable in oxide semiconductors and can be fabricated using low-temperature solution-based growth techniques. Additionally, the morphology of the composite can be controlled in a systematic way through control of the nanostructured oxide growth. ZnO nanostructures that are vertically aligned with respect to the substrate have been grown. Here we discuss the fabrication of such nanostructures and present results from ZnO nanofiber/poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) composite PV devices. The best performance with this cell structure produced an open circuit voltage (V oc) of 440 mV, a short circuit current density (Jsc) of 2.2 mA/cm2, a fill factor (FF) of 0.56, and a conversion efficiency (η) of 0.53%. Incorporation of a blend of P3HT and (6,6)-phenyl C 61 butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) into the ZnO nanofibers produced enhanced performance with a Voc of 475 mV, Jsc of 10.0 mA/cm2, FF of 0.43, and η of 2.03%. The power efficiency is limited in these devices by the large fiber spacing and the reduced V oc.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)26-29
Number of pages4
JournalThin Solid Films
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006
EventProceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Transparent Oxide Thin Film for Electronics and Optics (TOEO-4) -
Duration: 7 Apr 20058 Apr 2005

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-520-39649


  • Nanostructures
  • Polymers
  • Solar cells
  • Zinc oxide


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