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Bulk Heterojunction Solar Cell with Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Nanotubes in the Active Layer: Effect of Nanocomposite Synthesis Technique on Photovoltaic Properties

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School of Chemistry and Physics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X54001, Durban 4000, South Africa
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Department of Applied Chemistry, University of Johannesburg, P.O. Box 17011, Doornfontein, Johannesburg 2028, South Africa
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Klara Hernadi
Materials 2015, 8(5), 2415-2432; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma8052415
Received: 2 March 2015 / Revised: 9 April 2015 / Accepted: 10 April 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Advanced Composites)
Nanocomposites of poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes (N-CNTs) have been synthesized by two methods; specifically, direct solution mixing and in situ polymerization. The nanocomposites were characterized by means of transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray dispersive spectroscopy, UV-Vis spectrophotometry, photoluminescence spectrophotometry (PL), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Raman spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, and dispersive surface energy analysis. The nanocomposites were used in the active layer of a bulk heterojunction organic solar cell with the composition ITO/PEDOT:PSS/P3HT:N-CNTS:PCBM/LiF/Al. TEM and SEM analysis showed that the polymer successfully wrapped the N-CNTs. FTIR results indicated good π-π interaction within the nanocomposite synthesized by in situ polymerization as opposed to samples made by direct solution mixing. Dispersive surface energies of the N-CNTs and nanocomposites supported the fact that polymer covered the N-CNTs well. J-V analysis show that good devices were formed from the two nanocomposites, however, the in situ polymerization nanocomposite showed better photovoltaic characteristics. View Full-Text
Keywords: polythiophene; nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes; nanocomposites; photovoltaic properties polythiophene; nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes; nanocomposites; photovoltaic properties
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Keru, G.; Ndungu, P.G.; Mola, G.T.; Nyamori, V.O. Bulk Heterojunction Solar Cell with Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Nanotubes in the Active Layer: Effect of Nanocomposite Synthesis Technique on Photovoltaic Properties. Materials 2015, 8, 2415-2432.

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