Optical and microscopic study of a polymer-nanotube mixture for organic photovoltaic applications

Giulianini, Michele (2010) Optical and microscopic study of a polymer-nanotube mixture for organic photovoltaic applications. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Organic solar cells based on bulk heterojunction between a conductive polymer and a carbon nanostructure offer potential advantages compared to conventional inorganic cells. Low cost, light weight, flexibility and high peak power per unit weight are all features that can be considered a reality for organic photovoltaics. Although polymer/carbon nanotubes solar cells have been proposed, only low power conversion efficiencies have been reached without addressing the mechanisms responsible for this poor performance. The purpose of this work is therefore to investigate the basic interaction between carbon nanotubes and poly(3-hexylthiophene) in order to demonstrate how this interaction affects the performance of photovoltaic devices. The outcomes of this study are the contributions made to the knowledge of the phenomena explaining the behaviour of electronic devices based on carbon nanotubes and poly(3-hexylthiophene). In this PhD, polymer thin films with the inclusion of uniformly distributed carbon nanotubes were deposited from solution and characterised. The bulk properties of the composites were studied with microscopy and spectroscopy techniques to provide evidence of higher degrees of polymer order when interacting with carbon nanotubes. Although bulk investigation techniques provided useful information about the interaction between the polymer and the nanotubes, clear evidence of the phenomena affecting the heterojunction formed between the two species was investigated at nanoscale. Identifying chirality-driven polymer assisted assembly on the carbon nanotube surface was one of the major achievements of this study. Moreover, the analysis of the electrical behaviour of the heterojunction between the polymer and the nanotube highlighted the charge transfer responsible for the low performance of photovoltaic devices. Polymer and carbon nanotube composite-based devices were fabricated and characterised in order to study their electronic properties. The carbon nanotube introduction in the polymer matrix evidenced a strong electrical conductivity enhancement but also a lower photoconductivity response. Moreover, the extension of pristine polymer device characterisation models to composites based devices evidenced the conduction mechanisms related to nanotubes. Finally, the introduction of carbon nanotubes in the polymer matrix was demonstrated to improve the pristine polymer solar cell performance and the spectral response even though the power conversion efficiency is still too low.

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ID Code: 48830
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Motta, Nunzio & Bell, John
Keywords: nonotubes, polymers, microscopic study, organic photovoltaics
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 23 Feb 2012 05:56
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2012 05:56

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