Dipole-induced conductivity enhancement by n-type inclusion in a p-type system: α-Fe2O3–PEDOT:PSS nanocomposites
Hematite (α-Fe2O3) nanoparticles of two different shapes but of same size (ca. 40 nm) were dispersed in PEDOT:PSS matrices in various concentration ranges (0–7 wt%) to study the consequent changes in conductivity in the dark and under solar illumination conditions. Within a distinct range of concentration, a distinct increase in the conductivity was observed for both spherical and cubical particle population. We ascribed this effect to the generalized Poole–Frenkel theory of conduction in conjunction with the basic depletion width properties of heterojunctions and electrostatic dipole moments, and verified our assumptions through data fitting. A difference in conductivity between sphere- and cube-based α-Fe2O3–PEDOT:PSS nanocomposites was also observed and ascribed to the electrostatic edge effect on the nanoparticles. The dispersion of α-Fe2O3 nanocrystals was confirmed by high-resolution electron microscopy, whereas the electrical properties and modulations thereof were followed by recording current–voltage characteristics.