Built-in potential shift and Schottky-barrier narrowing in organic solar cells with UV-sensitive electron transport layers†
The performance of organic solar cells incorporating solution-processed titanium suboxide (TiOx) as electron-collecting layers can be improved by UV illumination. We study the mechanism of this improvement using electrical measurements and electroabsorption spectroscopy. We propose a model in which UV illumination modifies the effective work function of the oxide layer through a significant increase in its free electron density. This leads to a dramatic improvement in device power conversion efficiency through several mechanisms – increasing the built-in potential by 0.3 V, increasing the conductivity of the TiOx layer and narrowing the interfacial Schottky barrier between the suboxide and the underlying transparent electrode. This work highlights the importance of considering Fermi-level equilibration when designing multi-layer transparent electrodes.