Tessellated gold nanostructures from Au144(SCH2CH2Ph)60 molecular precursors and their use in organic solar cell enhancement
We report for the first time the fabrication of nanocomposite hole-blocking layers consisting of poly-3,4-ethylene-dioxythiophene:poly-styrene-sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) thin films incorporating networks of gold nanoparticles assembled from Au144(SCH2CH2Ph)60, a molecular gold precursor. These thin films can be prepared reproducibly on indium tin oxide by spinning on it Au144(SCH2CH2Ph)60 solutions in chlorobenzene, annealing the resulting thin film at 400 °C, and subsequently spinning PEDOT:PSS on top. The use of our nanocomposite hole-blocking layers for enhancing the photoconversion efficiency of bulk heterojunction organic solar cells is demonstrated. By varying the concentration of Au144(SCH2CH2Ph)60 in the starting solution and the annealing time, different gold nanostructures were obtained ranging from individual gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) to tessellated networks of gold nanostructures (Tess-AuNPs). Improvement in organic solar cell efficiencies up to 10% relative to a reference cell is demonstrated with Tess-AuNPs embedded in PEDOT:PSS.