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Surface structure, optoelectronic properties and charge transport in ZnO nanocrystal/MDMO-PPV multilayer films

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Abstract

Blends of semiconducting nanocrystals and conjugated polymers continue to attract major research interest because of their potential applications in optoelectronic devices, such as solar cells, photodetectors and light-emitting diodes. In this study we investigate the surface structure, morphological and optoelectronic properties of multilayer films constructed from ZnO nanocrystals (NCs) and poly[2-methoxy-5-(3′,7′-dimethyloctyloxy)-1,4-phenylenevinylene] (MDMO-PPV). The effects of layer number and ZnO concentration (CZnO) used on the multilayer film properties are investigated. An optimised solvent blend enabled well-controlled layers to be sequentially spin coated and the construction of multilayer films containing six ZnO NC (Z) and MDMO-PPV (M) layers (denoted as (ZM)6). Contact angle data showed a strong dependence on CZnO and indicated distinct differences in the coverage of MDMO-PPV by the ZnO NCs. UV-visible spectroscopy showed that the MDMO-PPV absorption increased linearly with the number of layers in the films and demonstrates highly tuneable light absorption. Photoluminescence spectra showed reversible quenching as well as a surprising red-shift of the MDMO-PPV emission peak. Solar cells were constructed to probe vertical photo-generated charge transport. The measurements showed that (ZM)6 devices prepared using CZnO = 14.0 mg mL−1 had a remarkably high open circuit voltage of ∼800 mV. The device power conversion efficiency was similar to that of a control bilayer device prepared using a much thicker MDMO-PPV layer. The results of this study provide insight into the structure–optoelectronic property relationships of new semiconducting multilayer films which should also apply to other semiconducting NC/polymer combinations.

Graphical abstract: Surface structure, optoelectronic properties and charge transport in ZnO nanocrystal/MDMO-PPV multilayer films

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Feb 2018, accepted on 15 Apr 2018 and first published on 17 Apr 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8CP01148F
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018, Advance Article
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    Surface structure, optoelectronic properties and charge transport in ZnO nanocrystal/MDMO-PPV multilayer films

    Q. Lian, M. Chen, M. Z. Mokhtar, S. Wu, M. Zhu, E. Whittaker, P. O’Brien and B. R. Saunders, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8CP01148F

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