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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2006, Article ID 20951, 6 pages

Hybrid solar cells from water-soluble polymers

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Energy Conversion Systems Laboratory, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond 23284, VA, USA

Received 16 February 2006; Accepted 23 March 2006

Copyright © 2006 James T. McLeskey Jr. and Qiquan Qiao. 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.


We report on the use of a water-soluble, light-absorbing polythiophene polymer to fabricate novel photovoltaic devices. The polymer is a water-soluble thiophene known as sodium poly[2-(3-thienyl)-ethoxy-4-butylsulfonate] or PTEBS. The intention is to take advantage of the properties of conjugated polymers (flexible, tunable, and easy to process) and incorporate the additional benefits of water solubility (easily controlled evaporation rates and environmentally friendly). The PTEBS polythiophene has shown significant photovoltaic response and has been found to be effective for making solar cells. To date, solar cells in three different configurations have been produced: titanium dioxide (TiO2) bilayer cells, TiO2 bulk heterojunction solar cells, and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in bulk heterojunctions. The best performance thus far has been achieved with TiO2 bilayer devices. These devices have an open circuit voltage (Voc) of 0.84V, a short circuit current (Jsc) of 0.15 mA/cm2, a fill factor (ff) of 0.91, and an efficiency (η) of 0.15 %.