Applied Surface Science, Vol.389, 419-427, 2016
Photovoltaic cells based on ternary P3HT:PCBM:polymethine dye active layer transparent in the visible range of light
Optical and photovoltaic properties were studied for ternary photovoltaic cells containing a traditional donor-acceptor bulk-heterojunction (BHJ) active layer modified with polymethine dye molecules in a broad range of compositions and wavelengths. An effect of composition induced optical transparency, due to the strong modification of the density of states, was observed for symmetrical compositions with approximately equal amount of components. Based on our spectroscopic ellipsometry and atomic force microscopy (AFM) studies we can suggest that the variation of the refractive index, which is significantly reduced in the visible range for ternary systems, is involved in the physical mechanism of the phenomenon. Despite of an addition of the IR absorbing component (which allows broadening of the absorption band to up to 800 nm) no improvement in the power conversion efficiency (PCE) is observed in comparison to the binary BHJ system (P3HT:PCBM). Nevertheless, we believe that further advance of the efficiency will be possible if the energy levels will be chemically designed to avoid formation of charge traps at the BHJ interface during light excitation. Such fine adjustment of the system should become possible with a proper choice of polymer:dye composition due to a high versatility of the polymethine dyes demonstrated in previous studies. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.