Integrated Optical and Electrical Modeling of Plasmon-Enhanced Thin Film Photovoltaics: A Case-Study on Organic Devices

Devin Rourke, Sungmo Ahn, Alexandre M. Nardes, Jao Van De Lagemaat, Nikos Kopidakis, Wounjhang Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus Citations


The nanoscale light control for absorption enhancement of organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices inevitably produces strongly non-uniform optical fields. These non-uniformities due to the localized optical modes are a primary route toward absorption enhancement in OPV devices. Therefore, a rigorous modeling tool taking into account the spatial distribution of optical field and carrier generation is necessary. Presented here is a comprehensive numerical model to describe the coupled optical and electrical behavior of plasmon-enhanced polymer:fullerene bulk heterojunction (BHJ) solar cells. In this model, a position-dependent electron-hole pair generation rate that could become highly non-uniform due to photonic nanostructures is directly calculated from the optical simulations. By considering the absorption and plasmonic properties of nanophotonic gratings included in two different popular device architectures, and applying the Poisson, current continuity, and drift/diffusion equations, the model predicts quantum efficiency, short-circuit current density, and desired carrier mobility ratios for bulk heterojunction devices incorporating nanostructures for light management. In particular, the model predicts a significant degradation of device performance when the carrier species with lower mobility are generated far from the collecting electrode. Consequently, an inverted device architecture is preferred for materials with low hole mobility. This is especially true for devices that include plasmonic nanostructures. Additionally, due to the incorporation of a plasmonic nanostructure, we use simulations to theoretically predict absorption band broadening of a BHJ into energies below the band gap, resulting in a 4.8% increase in generated photocurrent.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number114510
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 21 Sep 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-62175


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