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Title: Asymmetric tandem organic solar cells
Author: Howells, Thomas J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2725 2865
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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Organic photovoltaics (OPVs) is an area that has attracted much attention recently as a potential low cost, sustainable source of energy with a good potential for full-scale commercialisation. Understanding the factors that determine the efficiency of such cells is therefore a high priority, as well as developing ways to boost efficiency to commercially-useful levels. In addition to an intensive search for new materials, significant effort has been spent on ways to squeeze more performance out of existing materials, such as multijunction cells. This thesis investigates double junction tandem cells in the context of small molecule organic materials. Two different organic electron donor materials, boron subphthalocyanine chloride (SubPc) and aluminium phthalocyanine chloride (ClAlPc) were used as donors in heterojunctions with C60 to create tandem cells for this thesis. These materials have been previously used for solar cells and the absorption spectra of the donor materials complement each other, making them good candidates for tandem cell architectures. The design of the recombination layer between the cells is considered first, with silver nanoparticles demonstrated to work well as recombination centres for charges from the front and back sub-cells, necessary to avoid a charge build-up at the interface. The growth conditions for the nanoparticles are optimised, with the tandem cells outperforming the single heterojunction architecture. Optical modelling is considered as a method to improve the understanding of thin film solar cells, where interference effects from the reflective aluminium electrode are important in determining the magnitude of absorption a cell can achieve. The use of such modelling is first demonstrated in hybrid solar cells based on a SubPc donor with a titanium oxide (TiOx) acceptor; this system is ideal for observing the effects of interference as only the SubPc layer has significant absorption. The modelling is then applied to tandem cells where it is used to predict the short-circuit current (Jsc) generation of the sub-cells, which is not accessible experimentally. Current-matching is then used to predict the Jsc of the complete tandem device. As a support to the optical modelling, ellipsometry measurements of thin films of ClAlPc are presented. These films of known thickness are analysed to extract the complex refractive index for use in optical modelling calculations. A dependence of the complex refractive index on film thickness and substrate is also noted. Finally, the external quantum efficiency (EQE) technique is considered as applied to solar cells, and an additional method is proposed to characterise current balancing in asymmetric tandem cells under illumination. This technique is verified experimentally by two separate sets of data.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Kurt J. Lesker Company
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering