Stability of graphene-based heterojunction solar cells
Bulk-heterojunction (BHJ) solar cells based on organic small molecules and polymers are the focus of increasing attention by science and commerce. In organic photovoltaic devices, a conjugated polymer layer is used as the donor, while a fullerene-based derivative is used as the acceptor. Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrene sulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) is one of the most common interfacial materials used for organic BHJ solar cells. However, PEDOT:PSS is acidic and hygroscopic in nature, and it inherits microstructural inhomogeneities that cause not only gradual degradation, but a complete failure of BHJ solar cell devices. There is a growing interest in graphene-based solar cells because graphene-based materials offer ease of solution processability, high optical transparency, and high power conversion efficiency. Graphene has been actively investigated for use as a transparent conducting electrode, and as a photoactive layer in fabricating solar cell devices. Power conversion efficiency in the range of 10% to 15% for graphene and inorganic semiconductor-based hybrid heterojunction solar cells, and 15.6% for graphene-containing perovskite solar cells has been observed. Organic materials-based solar cells degrade not only from environmental exposure, but also from photo-oxidation caused by light illumination. In addition to higher power conversion efficiency, stability in graphene-based solar cells is critically important for commercial applications. In this review article, the stability of graphene-based heterojunction solar cells under atmospheric conditions is evaluated. Current studies show that the insertion of a graphene buffer layer into solar cell heterostructures stops degradation and enhances stability in solar cell devices. Long-term environmental stability of graphene-based heterojunction solar cells for commercial applications is discussed.