Graphene nanoplatelet doping of P3HT: PCBM photoactive layer of bulk heterojunction organic solar cells for enhancing performance

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Hybrid organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells based on conjugated polymer photoactive materials are promising candidates for flexible, high-performance and low-cost energy sources owing to their inexpensive materials, cost-effective processing and ease of fabrication by simple solution processes. However, the modest PV performance obtained to date - in particular the low power conversion efficiency (PCE) - has impeded the large scale deployment of OPV cells. The low PCE in OPV solar cells is mainly attributed to the low carrier mobility, which is closely correlated to the transport diffusion length of the charge carriers within the photoactive layers. The 2D graphene material could be an excellent candidate for assisting charge transport improvement in the active layer of OPV cells, due to its huge carrier mobility, thermal and chemical stability, and its compatibility with the solution process. In this work, we report on the improvement of the optoelectronic properties and photovoltaic performance of graphene nanoplatelet (GNP)-doped P3HT:PCBM photoactive blended layers, integrated into a bulk heterojunction (BHJ) organic-photovoltaic-based device, using PEDOT:PSS on an ITO/glass substrate. First, the light absorption capacity was observed to increase with respect to the GNP content, while the photoluminescence showed clear quenching, indicating electron transfer between the graphene sheets and the polymeric matrix. Then, the incorporation of GNP into the BHJ active layer resulted in enhanced PV performance with respect to the reference cell, and the best PV performance was obtained with 3 wt.% of GNP loading, with an open-circuit voltage of 1.24 V, a short-circuit current density value of 6.18 mA cm-2, a fill factor of 47.12%, and a power conversion efficiency of about 3.61%. We believe that the obtained results contribute to the development of organic photovoltaic devices and to the understanding of the impact of sp2-bonded carbon therein.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105405
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2018



  • graphene
  • optical absorbance
  • P3HT: PCBM
  • photoluminescence
  • photovoltaic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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