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J Colloid Interface Sci. 2012 Mar 1;369(1):1-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2011.12.016. Epub 2011 Dec 13.

Hybrid polymer/nanoparticle solar cells: preparation, principles and challenges.

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  • 1Manchester Materials Science Centre, School of Materials, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. brian.saunders@manchester.ac.uk


Hybrid polymer/nanoparticle solar cells have a light harvesting layer composed of semiconducting inorganic nanoparticles and a semiconducting conjugated polymer. They have potential to give high power conversion efficiencies (PCE). However, the PCE values reported for these solar cells are not currently as high as anticipated. This article reviews the main methods currently used for preparing hybrid polymer/nanoparticle solar cells from the colloid perspective. PCE data for the period of 2005-2011 are presented for hybrid polymer/nanoparticle solar cells and compared to those from polymer/fullerene cells. The key reasons for the relatively low PCE values for hybrid polymer/nanoparticle solar cells are uncontrolled aggregation and residual insulating ligands at the nanoparticle surface. Two hybrid polymer/nanoparticle systems studied at Manchester are considered in which the onset of aggregation and its affect on composite film morphology were studied from the colloidal perspective. It is concluded that step-change approaches are required to increase the PCEs of hybrid polymer/nanoparticle solar cells and move them toward the 10% value required for widespread commercialisation. A range of nanoparticles that have potential for application in possible longer term terawatt solar energy production are discussed.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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