Sub-10 NM Copper Chromium Oxide Nanocrystals as a Solution Processed P-Type Hole Transport Layer for Organic Photovoltaics



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Royal Society of Chemistry


We report the synthesis of CuCrO₂ nanocrystals, a p-type transparent conducting oxide, and their application as an efficient hole transport layer (HTL) for organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices. A nanometer-sized mixture of Cu and Cr oxide/hydroxide is synthesized using microwave-assisted heating. With a 550 °C post-annealing treatment in N₂, <10 nm CuCrO₂ nanocrystals are successfully synthesized. XRD, XPS, EDAX, PESA, UV-vis spectrometry, and Kelvin probe technique are applied to confirm the delafossite phase, optical transmission, and p-type characteristics. Methanol is found to be a good solvent to disperse these nanocrystals for forming a smooth and transparent film. In comparison with the previously reported CuGaO₂ HTL, the reduced film roughness enables the CuCrO₂ HTL to produce highly efficient thin active layer OPV devices. UV-ozone treatment on the CuCrO₂ HTL is found to increase the fill factor. Drift-diffusion modeling, energy level measurements, and XPS results reveal that the device improvement is not due to the reduced injection barrier, but due to an improved CuCrO₂ conductivity arising from the formation of Cu²⁺ species.


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Annealing of crystals, Holes, Light--Transmission, Organic solvents, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Microwave heating, Photovoltaic effect, Nanocrystals


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