The conventional anode for organic photovoltaics (OPVs), indium tin oxide (ITO), is expensive and brittle, and thus is not suitable for use in roll-to-roll manufacturing of OPVs. In this study, fully solution-processed polymer bulk heterojunction (BHJ) solar cells with anodes made from silver nanowires (Ag NWs) have been successfully fabricated with a configuration of Ag NWs/poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS)/polymer:phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM)/Ca/Al. Efficiencies of 2.8 and 2.5% are obtained for devices with Ag NW network on glass and on poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET), respectively. The efficiency of the devices is limited by the low work function of the Ag NWs/PEDOT:PSS film and the non-ideal ohmic contact between the Ag NW anode and the active layer. Compared with devices based on the ITO anode, the open-circuit voltage (Voc) of solar cells based on the Ag NW anode is lower by ~0.3 V. More importantly, highly flexible BHJ solar cells have been firstly fabricated on Ag NWs/PET anode with recoverable efficiency of 2.5% under large deformation up to 120°. This study indicates that, with improved engineering of the nanowires/polymer interface, Ag NW electrodes can serve as a low-cost, flexible alternative to ITO, and thereby improve the economic viability and mechanical stability of OPVs.
Yang, L., T. Zhang, H. Zhou, S.C. Price, B.J. Wiley, W. You
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces