Strong light-matter coupling for reduced photon energy losses in organic photovoltaics.
ABSTRACT: Strong light-matter coupling can re-arrange the exciton energies in organic semiconductors. Here, we exploit strong coupling by embedding a fullerene-free organic solar cell (OSC) photo-active layer into an optical microcavity, leading to the formation of polariton peaks and a red-shift of the optical gap. At the same time, the open-circuit voltage of the device remains unaffected. This leads to reduced photon energy losses for the low-energy polaritons and a steepening of the absorption edge. While strong coupling reduces the optical gap, the energy of the charge-transfer state is not affected for large driving force donor-acceptor systems. Interestingly, this implies that strong coupling can be exploited in OSCs to reduce the driving force for electron transfer, without chemical or microstructural modifications of the photo-active layer. Our work demonstrates that the processes determining voltage losses in OSCs can now be tuned, and reduced to unprecedented values, simply by manipulating the device architecture.
Project description:The low-energy edge of optical absorption spectra is critical for the performance of solar cells, but is not well understood in the case of organic solar cells (OSCs). We study the microscopic origin of exciton bands in molecular blends and investigate their role in OSCs. We simulate the temperature dependence of the excitonic density of states and low-energy absorption features, including low-frequency molecular vibrations and multi-exciton hybridisation. For model donor-acceptor blends featuring charge-transfer excitons, our simulations agree very well with temperature-dependent experimental absorption spectra. We unveil that the quantum effect of zero-point vibrations, mediated by electron-phonon interaction, causes a substantial exciton bandwidth and reduces the open-circuit voltage, which is predicted from electronic and vibronic molecular parameters. This effect is surprisingly strong at room temperature and can substantially limit the OSC's efficiency. Strategies to reduce these vibration-induced voltage losses are discussed for a larger set of systems and different heterojunction geometries.
Project description:The approach via ternary blends prompts the increase of absorbed photon density and resultant photocurrent enhancement in organic solar cells (OSCs). In contrast to actively reported high efficiency ternary OSCs, little is known about charge recombination properties and carrier loss mechanisms in these emerging devices. Here, through introducing a small molecule donor BTR as a guest component to the PCE-10:PC71BM binary system, we show that photocarrier losses via recombination are mitigated with respect the binary OSCs, owing to a reduced bimolecular recombination. The gain of the fill factor in ternary devices are reconciled by the change in equilibrium between charge exaction and recombination in the presence of BTR toward the former process. With these modifications, the power conversion efficiency in ternary solar cells receives a boost from 8.8 (PCE-10:PC71BM) to 10.88%. We further found that the voltage losses in the ternary cell are slightly suppressed, related to the rising charge transfer-state energy. These benefits brought by the third guest donor are important for attaining improvements on key photophysical processes governing the photovoltaic efficiencies in organic ternary solar cells.
Project description:The optimal hybridization of photovoltaic (PV) and thermoelectric (TE) devices has long been considered ideal for the efficient harnessing solar energy. Our hybrid approach uses full spectrum solar energy via lossless coupling between PV and TE devices while collecting waste energy from thermalization and transmission losses from PV devices. Achieving lossless coupling makes the power output from the hybrid device equal to the sum of the maximum power outputs produced separately from individual PV and TE devices. TE devices need to have low internal resistances enough to convey photo-generated currents without sacrificing the PV fill factor. Concomitantly, a large number of p-n legs are preferred to drive a high Seebeck voltage in TE. Our simple method of attaching a TE device to a PV device has greatly improved the conversion efficiency and power output of the PV device (~30% at a 15°C temperature gradient across a TE device).
Project description:Organic-based optoelectronic devices, including light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and solar cells (OSCs) hold great promise as low-cost and large-area electro-optical devices and renewable energy sources. However, further improvement in efficiency remains a daunting challenge due to limited light extraction or absorption in conventional device architectures. Here we report a universal method of optical manipulation of light by integrating a dual-side bio-inspired moth's eye nanostructure with broadband anti-reflective and quasi-omnidirectional properties. Light out-coupling efficiency of OLEDs with stacked triple emission units is over 2 times that of a conventional device, resulting in drastic increase in external quantum efficiency and current efficiency to 119.7% and 366?cd A(-1) without introducing spectral distortion and directionality. Similarly, the light in-coupling efficiency of OSCs is increased 20%, yielding an enhanced power conversion efficiency of 9.33%. We anticipate this method would offer a convenient and scalable way for inexpensive and high-efficiency organic optoelectronic designs.
Project description:We propose a metallic-particle-based two-dimensional quasi-grating structure for application to an organic solar cell. With the use of oblate spheroidal nanoparticles in contact with an anode of inverted, ultrathin organic solar cells (OSCs), the quasi-grating structure offers strong hybridization between localized surface plasmons and plasmonic gap modes leading to broadband (300~800 nm) and uniform (average ~90%) optical absorption spectra. Both strong optical enhancement in extreme confinement within the active layer (90 nm) and improved hole collection are thus realized. A coupled optical-electrical multi-physics optimization shows a large (~33%) enhancement in the optical absorption (corresponding to an absorption efficiency of ~47%, AM1.5G weighted, visible) when compared to a control OSC without the quasi-grating structure. That translates into a significant electrical performance gain of ~22% in short circuit current and ~15% in the power conversion efficiency (PCE), leading to an energy conversion efficiency (~6%) which is comparable to that of optically-thick inverted OSCs (3-7%). Detailed analysis on the influences of mode hybridization to optical field distributions, exciton generation rate, charge carrier collection efficiency and electrical conversion efficiency is provided, to offer an integrated understanding on the coupled optical-electrical optimization of ultrathin OSCs.
Project description:For nearly two decades, researchers in the field of plasmonics 1 -which studies the coupling of electromagnetic waves to the motion of free electrons near the surface of a metal 2 -have sought to realize subwavelength optical devices for information technology3-6, sensing7,8, nonlinear optics9,10, optical nanotweezers 11 and biomedical applications 12 . However, the electron motion generates heat through ohmic losses. Although this heat is desirable for some applications such as photo-thermal therapy, it is a disadvantage in plasmonic devices for sensing and information technology 13 and has led to a widespread view that plasmonics is too lossy to be practical. Here we demonstrate that the ohmic losses can be bypassed by using 'resonant switching'. In the proposed approach, light is coupled to the lossy surface plasmon polaritons only in the device's off state (in resonance) in which attenuation is desired, to ensure large extinction ratios between the on and off states and allow subpicosecond switching. In the on state (out of resonance), destructive interference prevents the light from coupling to the lossy plasmonic section of a device. To validate the approach, we fabricated a plasmonic electro-optic ring modulator. The experiments confirm that low on-chip optical losses, operation at over 100 gigahertz, good energy efficiency, low thermal drift and a compact footprint can be combined in a single device. Our result illustrates that plasmonics has the potential to enable fast, compact on-chip sensing and communications technologies.
Project description:Many remarkable properties of graphene are derived from its large energy window for Dirac-like electronic states and have been explored for applications in electronics and photonics. In addition, strong electron-phonon interaction in graphene has led to efficient photo-thermo energy conversions, which has been harnessed for energy applications. By combining the wavelength independent absorption property and the efficient photo-thermo energy conversion, here we report a new type of applications in sound wave generation underlined by a photo-thermo-acoustic energy conversion mechanism. Most significantly, by utilizing ultrafast optical pulses, we demonstrate the ability to control the phase of sound waves generated by the photo-thermal-acoustic process. Our finding paves the way for new types of applications for graphene, such as remote non-contact speakers, optical-switching acoustic devices, etc.
Project description:The exploitation of potential functions in material is crucial in materials research. In this study, we demonstrate a III-VI chalcogenide, polycrystalline γ-In2Se3, which simultaneously possesses the capabilities of thickness-dependent optical gaps and wide-energy-range absorption existed in the polycrystalline layers of γ-In2Se3. Transmission electron microscopy and Raman measurement show a lot of γ-phase nanocrystals contained in the disordered and polycrystalline state of the chalcogenide with medium-range order (MRO). The MRO effects on the γ-In2Se3 layers show thickness-dependent absorption-edge shift and thickness-dependent resistivities. The amorphous effect of MRO also renders a structural-phase transition of γ → α occurred inside the γ-In2Se3 layer with a heat treatment of about 700 °C. Photo-voltage-current (Photo V-I) measurements of different-thickness γ-In2Se3 layers propose a wide-energy-range photoelectric conversion unit ranging from visible to ultraviolet (UV) may be achieved by stacking γ-In2Se3 layers in a staircase form containing dissimilar optical gaps.
Project description:We propose a new scheme based on quantum dot-bimodal cavity coupling system to realize all-optical switch and logic gates in low-photon-number regime. Suppression of mode transmission due to the destructive interference effect is theoretically demonstrated by driving the cavity with two orthogonally polarized pulsed lasers at certain pulse delay. The transmitted mode can be selected by designing laser pulse sequence. The optical switch with high on-off ratio emerges when considering one driving laser as the control. Moreover, the AND/OR logic gates based on photon polarization are achieved by cascading the coupling system. Both proposed optical switch and logic gates work well in ultra-low energy magnitude. Our work may enable various applications of all-optical computing and quantum information processing.
Project description:The miniaturization of diagnostic devices that exploit optical detection schemes requires the design of light sources combining small size, high performance for effective excitation of chromophores, and mechanical flexibility for easy coupling to components with complex and nonplanar shapes. Here, ZnO nanowire-in-fiber hybrids with internal architectural order are introduced, exhibiting a combination of polarized stimulated emission, low propagation losses of light modes, and structural flexibility. Ultrafast transient absorption experiments on the electrospun material show optical gain which gives rise to amplified spontaneous emission with a threshold lower than the value found in films. These systems are highly flexible and can conveniently conform to curved surfaces, which makes them appealing active elements for various device platforms, such as bendable lasers, optical networks, and sensors, as well as for application in bioimaging, photo-cross-linking, and optogenetics.