Hybrid polymer/nanoparticle solar cells: Preparation, principles and challenges

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    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. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012


    • Hybrid polymer/nanoparticle solar cells
    • PbS
    • Polymer solar cells
    • Power conversion efficiency
    • Triggered aggregation
    • ZnO


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