About this Journal Submit a Manuscript Table of Contents
Journal of Nanotechnology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 869596, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/869596
Research Article

Effects of Au Nanoparticle Addition to Hole Transfer Layer in Organic Photovoltaic Cells Based on Phthalocyanines and Fullerene

1Department of Materials Science, School of Engineering, The University of Shiga Prefecture, 2500 Hassaka, Hikone, Shiga 522-8533, Japan
2Department of New Business, Orient Chemical Industries Co., Ltd., 8-1 Sanra-Higashi-machi, Neyagawa, Osaka 572-8581, Japan

Received 14 February 2011; Revised 12 August 2011; Accepted 7 September 2011

Academic Editor: Guifu Zou

Copyright © 2011 Akihiko Nagata et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Phthalocyanines/fullerene organic photovoltaic cells were fabricated and characterized. Effects of Au nanoparticle addition to a hole transfer layer were also investigated, and power conversion efficiencies of the photovoltaic cells were improved after blending the Au nanoparticle into PEDOT:PSS. Nanostructures of the Au nanoparticles were investigated by transmission electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. Energy levels of molecules were calculated by molecular orbital calculations, and the nanostructures and electronic property were discussed.

1. Introduction

In noble metal particles such as gold or silver from tens of nanometer to several nanometers, the vibrational frequency of localized surface plasmon resonates with a photoelectric field of the wavelength of the visible region [14]. When visible light is irradiated to noble metal nanoparticles or nanostructures, light is converted into surface plasmon and the localized electric field generated in the vicinity of surface of nanoparticles or nanostructures. The plasmon electric filed is excited dye molecules as well as light, and interesting phenomena and various applications have been reported [58]. In addition, the group velocity of light decreases in such nanospace and the photoabsorption efficiency of dye arranged in the nanospace would be reinforced. Therefore, clarifications and applications of the reinforcement mechanism are interesting research objects.

Phthalocyanines have been widely studied as attractive materials for photovoltaic, electrochemical, gas-sensing, and data-storage devices [9, 10]. Phthalocyanine molecules have planar unit and electronic conductivity because of the π electron system and have p-type semiconductor behavior [11]. Therefore, they have been investigated as thin film organic photovoltaic cells, which are expected as next-generation photovoltaic cells because of advantages of easy manufacture process, low production cost, and flexibility [1214]. The photovoltaic devices consisting of noble metal nanostructures or nanoparticles with the localized electric field have been reported [15, 16]. However, there are few studies on organic photovoltaic cells with noble metal nanostructures or nanoparticles.

The purpose of the present work is to fabricate and characterize organic photovoltaic cells based on phthalocyanines and fullerene (C60). In the present work, C60 was used as n-type semiconductor, and copper naphthalocyanine (CuNc) and subphthalocyanine (SubPc) were used as p-type semiconductors, respectively. In addition, effects of Au nanoparticle (AuNP) addition to a hole transfer layer were investigated. For metal nanoparticles such as Au and Ag, strongly enhanced electric fields are locally generated in their nanospaces by irradiation of light. This phenomenon is due to localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR), which is expected to enhance light harvesting of the organic solar cells [1519]. Photovoltaic devices were fabricated, and nanostructures, electronic property, and optical absorption were investigated.

2. Experimental Procedures

Aqueous stock solution of HAuCl4 (2.5 × 10−4 M) was prepared and refluxed. After reflux for 40 min, 1 wt.% sodium citrate of 1.4 mL was added to reaction mixture. After reflux for 60 min, it was cooled under the air atmosphere. The fabricated AuNP solution was concentrated by the centrifugation. To prepare the composite buffer layer, the concentrated AuNP solution was blended into the polyethylenedioxythiophene doped with polystyrene sulfonic acid (PEDOT:PSS, Sigma-Aldrich Corp.) solution. The volume ratio of AuNP solution was 20%.

A buffer layer of PEDOT:PSS with AuNPs was spin coated on precleaned indium tin oxide (ITO) glass plates (Geomatec Co. Ltd., ~10 Ω/□). After annealing at 100°C for 10 min in N2 atmosphere, p-type photoactive layers were prepared on a PEDOT layer. Copper (II) 2,3-naphthalocyanine (CuNc, Sigma-Aldrich Corp., 85%) layers were deposited by a spin coating method, and subphthalocyanine (SubPc, Orient Chemical Industries Co., Ltd.) layers were deposited by evaporation, respectively. After depositing p-type photoactive layers, C60 thin films were deposited using C60 powder (Material Technologies Research Ltd., 99.98%) by a vacuum deposition method. Aluminum (Al) metal contacts with a thickness of 100 nm were evaporated as a top electrode. A schematic diagram of the present photovoltaic cells is shown in Figure 1.

869596.fig.001
Figure 1: Schematic diagram of the present photovoltaic cells.

The current density-voltage (J-V) characteristics (Hokuto Denko Co. Ltd., HSV-110) of the photovoltaic cells were measured both in the dark and under illumination at 100 mW cm−2 by using an AM 1.5 solar simulator (San-ei Electric Co. Ltd., XES-301S). The photovoltaic cells were illuminated through the side of the ITO substrates, and the illuminated area is 0.16 cm2. Incident photon to current conversion efficiency (IPCE) was measured by using hypermonolight (Bunkoukeiki Co. Ltd., SM-25) and potentiostat (Huso Ltd., HECS 318C). The photovoltaic cells were irradiated by monochromated Xe lamp from the ITO side. Absorption spectra were measured by means of UV-visible spectroscopy (JASCO, V-670), and the wavelength region is in the range of 300 nm~800 nm. Microstructures of AuNPs were analyzed using X-ray diffractometer (Philips X’ Pert-MPD System) with CuKα radiation operating at 40 kV and 40 mA. Transmission electron microscope (TEM) observation was carried out by a 200 kV TEM (Hitachi, H-8100).

The isolated molecular structures were optimized by ab initio molecular orbital calculations using Gaussian 03. Conditions in the present calculation were as follows: calculation type (SP), calculation method (B3LYP), and basis set (LANL2DZ). Electronic structures such as energy gaps between highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) and lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO), and electron densities were investigated.

3. Results and Discussion

A TEM image and an electron diffraction pattern of AuNP are shown in Figures 2(a) and 2(b), respectively. AuNPs have an fcc structure with a lattice parameter of  nm. In the TEM image of Figure 2(a), AuNPs have a spherical shape and grain sizes of AuNPs were in the range of 40~60 nm. An X-ray diffraction pattern of the AuNPs sample prepared by the present reduction method is shown in Figure 3. From a 111 diffraction peak, a grain size was calculated by using Debye-Scherrer formula: , where λ, β, and θ represent the wavelength of X-ray source, the full width at half maximum (FWHM), and the Bragg angle, respectively. An average particle size is calculated to be 42 nm, which agrees well with the observed TEM data as shown in Figure 2(a).

fig2
Figure 2: (a) TEM image and (b) electron diffraction pattern of AuNPs.
869596.fig.003
Figure 3: X-ray diffraction pattern of AuNPs.

Figure 4 shows absorption spectra of AuNP solution and AuNPs in PEDOT:PSS deposited by a spin coating method on glass substrates. In Figure 4, absorption peaks were confirmed to be 536 and 578 nm, respectively, which were originated from plasmon absorption.

869596.fig.004
Figure 4: Absorption spectra of AuNP solution and AuNP in PEDOT:PSS.

Optical absorption spectra of CuNc/C60 and SubPc/C60 thin film on glass substrate are shown in Figures 5(a) and 5(b), respectively. In Figure 5(a), absorption peaks at 350 nm and 450 nm are due to C60 and other peaks are due to CuNc. In Figure 5(b), an absorption peak at 580 nm is due to SubPc. The present CuNc/C60 and SubPc/C60 heterojunction structures with AuNPs provided absorbance increase for the wavelength from 500 nm to 700 nm.

fig5
Figure 5: Absorption spectra of (a) CuNc/C60 and (b) SubPc/C60 films.

Measured J-V characteristics of CuNc/C60 and SubPc/C60 photovoltaic cells with or without AuNP under illumination are shown in Figure 6. The present structures show characteristic curve for open-circuit voltage and short-circuit current. Measured parameters of the present photovoltaic cells are summarized in Table 1. In Table 1, CuNc/C60 and SubPc/C60 heterojunction structures with AuNPs provided higher short-circuit current compared to those of CuNc/C60 and SubPc/C60 structures without AuNP. The SubPc/C60 heterojunction structure with AuNPs provided short-circuit current ( ) of 0.44 mA cm−2, open-circuit voltage ( ) of 0.55 V, fill factor (FF) of 0.28, and power conversion efficiency (η) of 0.068%, respectively.

tab1
Table 1: Experimental parameters of the present photovoltaic cells.
fig6
Figure 6: Measured J-V characteristic of (a) CuNc/C60 and (b) SubPc/C60 photovoltaic cells with or without AuNP.

Figure 7 shows the incident photon to current conversion efficiency (IPCE) spectra of SubPc/C60 photovoltaic cells with or without AuNP. The photovoltaic cells with AuNPs demonstrated the high IPCE spectrum in the range of 500~600 nm, which corresponded well with the absorption peak of AuNPs as observed in Figure 4.

869596.fig.007
Figure 7: IPCE of SubPc/C60 photovoltaic cells with or without AuNP.

Electronic structures, HOMOs, LUMOs, and energy gaps of CuNc and SubPc are shown in Figure 8. HOMO and LUMO of CuNc were calculated to be −3.13 eV and −5.01 eV, respectively, on the basis of molecular orbital calculation. HOMO and LUMO of SubPc were calculated to be −3.02 eV and −5.74 eV, respectively.

869596.fig.008
Figure 8: Calculated electronic structures, HOMOs, LUMOs, and energy gaps of CuNc and SubPc.

An energy level diagram of the present photovoltaic cells is summarized as shown in Figure 9. Previously reported values were also used for the energy levels [2022]. The carrier transport mechanism is considered as follows. When light is incident from the ITO substrate, light-absorption excitation occurs at the Pcs/C60 interface and electrons and holes are produced by charge separation. Then, the electrons transport through C60 toward the Al electrode, and the holes transport through PEDOT:PSS to the ITO substrate. Since it has been reported that is nearly proportional to the difference between HOMO of electronic donor (Pcs) and LUMO of electronic accepter (C60) [23], the difference of would be considered to be the combination of Pcs and C60.

869596.fig.009
Figure 9: Energy level diagram of the present photovoltaic cells.

In the present work, organic photovoltaic cells with AuNPs based on phthalocyanines and C60 were fabricated and characterized. Performance of the present photovoltaic cells would be dependent on grain sizes of AuNPs and film thickness of PEDOT:PSS, and control of the grain sizes and film thickness should be investigated further.

4. Conclusions

Organic photovoltaic cells were fabricated by using C60 as n-type semiconductor, and CuNc and SubPc as p-type semiconductors, respectively. J-V characteristics were investigated under illumination to confirm the photovoltaic cell performance. CuNc/C60 heterojunction structure with AuNPs provided photoabsorption in the range of 500 to 700 nm and provided η of 9.8 × 10−4%, FF of 0.24, of 0.034 mA cm−2, and of 0.12 V. The device was based on the SubPc/C60 heterojunction structure with AuNPs provided η of 0.068%, FF of 0.28, of 0.44 mA cm−2, and of 0.55 V. Nanostructures of AuNPs were investigated by TEM and X-ray diffraction, and the grain sizes of the AuNPs were determined to be 40~60 nm. Energy levels of the molecules were calculated by molecular orbital calculations.

References

  1. M. Moskovits, “Surface-enhanced spectroscopy,” Reviews of Modern Physics, vol. 57, no. 3, pp. 783–826, 1985. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  2. K. Kneipp, Y. Wang, H. Kneipp et al., “Single molecule detection using surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS),” Physical Review Letters, vol. 78, no. 9, pp. 1667–1670, 1997. View at Scopus
  3. S. Nie and S. R. Emory, “Probing single molecules and single nanoparticles by surface-enhanced Raman scattering,” Science, vol. 275, no. 5303, pp. 1102–1106, 1997. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  4. D. M. Schaadt, B. Feng, and E. T. Yu, “Enhanced semiconductor optical absorption via surface plasmon excitation in metal nanoparticles,” Applied Physics Letters, vol. 86, no. 6, Article ID 063106, 3 pages, 2005. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar
  5. W. L. Barnes, A. Dereux, and T. W. Ebbesen, “Surface plasmon subwavelength optics,” Nature, vol. 424, no. 6950, pp. 824–830, 2003. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at PubMed · View at Scopus
  6. J. J. Mock, M. Barbic, D. R. Smith, D. A. Schultz, and S. Schultz, “Shape effects in plasmon resonance of individual colloidal silver nanoparticles,” Journal of Chemical Physics, vol. 116, no. 15, pp. 6755–6759, 2002. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  7. P. Royer, J. P. Goudonnet, R. J. Warmack, and T. L. Ferrell, “Substrate effects on surface-plasmon spectra in metal-island films,” Physical Review B, vol. 35, no. 8, pp. 3753–3759, 1987. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  8. G. Xu, M. Tazawa, P. Jin, S. Nakao, and K. Yoshimura, “Wavelength tuning of surface plasmon resonance using dielectric layers on silver island films,” Applied Physics Letters, vol. 82, no. 22, pp. 3811–3813, 2003. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  9. F. I. Bohrer, A. Sharoni, C. Colesniuc et al., “Gas sensing mechanism in chemiresistive cobalt and metal-free phthalocyanine thin films,” Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 129, no. 17, pp. 5640–5646, 2007. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at PubMed · View at Scopus
  10. H. S. Majumdar, A. Bandyopadhyay, and A. J. Pal, “Data-storage devices based on layer-by-layer self-assembled films of a phthalocyanine derivative,” Organic Electronics, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 39–44, 2003. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  11. H. S. Soliman, A. M. A. El-Barry, N. M. Khosifan, and M. M. El Nahass, “Structural and electrical properties of thermally evaporated cobalt phthalocyanine (CoPc) thin films,” EPJ Applied Physics, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 1–9, 2007. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  12. W. Ma, C. Yang, X. Gong, K. Lee, and A. J. Heeger, “Thermally stable, efficient polymer solar cells with nanoscale control of the interpenetrating network morphology,” Advanced Functional Materials, vol. 15, no. 10, pp. 1617–1622, 2005. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  13. M. Granström, K. Petritsch, A. C. Arias, A. Lux, M. R. Andersson, and R. H. Friend, “Laminated fabrication of polymeric photovoltaic diodes,” Nature, vol. 395, no. 6699, pp. 257–260, 1998. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  14. M. Glatthaar, M. Riede, N. Keegan et al., “Efficiency limiting factors of organic bulk heterojunction solar cells identified by electrical impedance spectroscopy,” Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, vol. 91, no. 5, pp. 390–393, 2007. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  15. X. Chen, C. Zhao, L. Rothberg, and M. K. Ng, “Plasmon enhancement of bulk heterojunction organic photovoltaic devices by electrode modification,” Applied Physics Letters, vol. 93, no. 12, Article ID 123302, 3 pages, 2008.
  16. F.-C. Chen, J.-L. Wu, C.-L. Lee, Y. Hong, C.-H. Kuo, and M. H. Huang, “Plasmonic-enhanced polymer photovoltaic devices incorporating solution-processable metal nanoparticles,” Applied Physics Letters, vol. 95, no. 1, Article ID 013305, 2009.
  17. T. Akiyama, K. Aiba, K. Hoashi, M. Wang, K. Sugawa, and S. Yamada, “Enormous enhancement in photocurrent generation using electrochemically fabricated gold nanostructures,” Chemical Communications, vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 306–308, 2010. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at PubMed · View at Scopus
  18. W. J. Yoon, K. Y. Jung, J. Liu et al., “Plasmon-enhanced optical absorption and photocurrent in organic bulk heterojunction photovoltaic devices using self-assembled layer of silver nanoparticles,” Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, vol. 94, no. 2, pp. 128–132, 2010. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  19. A. J. Morfa, K. L. Rowlen, T. H. Reilly III, M. J. Romero, and J. van de Lagemaat, “Plasmon-enhanced solar energy conversion in organic bulk heterojunction photovoltaics,” Applied Physics Letters, vol. 92, no. 1, Article ID 013504, 3 pages, 2008.
  20. T. Oku, A. Takeda, A. Nagata, T. Noma, A. Suzuki, and K. Kikuchi, “Fabrication and characterization of fullerene-based bulk heterojunction solar cells with porphyrin, CuInS2, diamond and exciton-diffusion blocking layer,” Energies, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 671–685, 2010. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  21. T. Oku, T. Noma, A. Suzuki, K. Kikuchi, and S. Kikuchi, “Fabrication and characterization of fullerene/porphyrin bulk heterojunction solar cells,” Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids, vol. 71, no. 4, pp. 551–555, 2010. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  22. A. Nagata, T. Oku, K. Kikuchi, A. Suzuki, Y. Yamasaki, and E. Osawa, “Fabrication, nanostructures and electronic properties of nanodiamond-based solar cells,” Progress in Natural Science, vol. 20, pp. 38–43, 2010.
  23. M. A. Green, K. Emery, D. L. King, Y. Hishikawa, and W. Warta, “Solar cell efficiency tables (version 28),” Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications, vol. 14, no. 5, pp. 455–461, 2006. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus