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Gold Nanodots Could Improve Solar Cell Efficiency, Researchers Say

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An international team of researchers from France and Denmark have recently discovered that, by using a thin film of gold nanodots in solar cells could improve their conversion efficiency.

The 0.5 nanometer-thick nanodots thus find applicability in the field of organic photovoltaics, where the researchers want to cover the indium tin oxide (ITO) electrode layer with a flexible and highly transparent ultra-thin gold film electrode.

Linda Cattin, from the University of Nantes, has an approach involving only the fractional coverage of about 15 percent of the ITO electrode with gold.

“Our earlier work showed that a thin gold film, introduced at the interface between the ITO electrode and organic substrate, provides a strong improvement in the cell efficiency. This new work shows that only fractional coverage with gold (15%) on the ITO electrode is required to provide the efficiency improvement. This discontinuous gold layer may provide a viable anode buffer layer for future organic photovoltaic devices,” she said.

Another approach has been developed by Dr. Ross Hatton, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow at the University of Warwick. It involves replacing the ITO electrode with a think, transparent layer of gold nanodots.

“The need to improve upon ITO as an electrode material is clear and it is remarkable that such a low coverage of gold is so effective in facilitating charge carrier extraction. The methods reported by Dr Cattin and co-workers for determining fractional surface coverage are key tools for probing this important class of electrode buffer layer,” he said.

The research has been published in the Gold Bulletin journal.

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