PANI Thin Films for Solar Cells

PANI Thin Films for Solar Cells

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9896-1.ch007


After the breakthrough of conducting polymers, an incredible interest has been paid to integrate them in electronic component fabrication as an alternative to metals. Polyaniline is the most extensively studied material due to the ease of synthesis, better environmental stability, and enormous scope to modify its properties for solar cell applications. The electrical conductivity of PANI can be altered according to the need for the application where electronic devices made of conducting polymer composites are significantly dependent on the dielectric properties of the materials. Therefore, this chapter has been dedicated to the low-frequency AC conduction and dielectric studies of conducting PANI followed by having PANI thin films as efficient donor or acceptor bulk heterojunction layer to the hybrid solar cells.
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With the rapid development of the economy, delivering energy cannot meet the increasing demand. So, there is a need for clean and efficient energy devices due to the energy and environment crisis (Zhang & Zhao, 2009). Recently, clean and sustainable energy technologies have been fast developed like solar energy, wind energy, biomass fuels and fusion power (Candelaria et al., 2012). The electrode materials play an important role in the performance of energy storage and conversion devices. The carbon species, metal compounds and conducting polymers are the three main types used as electrode materials for energy storage devices. The carbon-based electrodes having high conductivity and stability generally show excellent cycling stability and high power density. Though, the energy density of carbon-based electrodes for supercapacitors is usually low due to the limitation of energy storage mechanism. The metal compounds have exhibited outstanding electrochemical performance in supercapacitors, batteries, and fuel cells due to their high activity and excellent intrinsic electrochemical properties, but they still have problems like low conductivity, high cost, and limited natural abundance. The conducting polymers viz. Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene), polypyrrole and polyaniline have attracted significant interest in energy storage, sensors and electrochromic devices (Bhadra, 2009; Wang et al., 2016). Over the years, the power conversion efficiency of crystalline silicon cells has reached more than 25% in a laboratory, which is slowly approaching its theoretical upper limit of 33%. Today, a range of PV technologies are commercially available or are under development in the research laboratories as summarized in Table 1 with reported efficiencies (Green et al., 2016).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Short-Circuit Current: It is obtained when the voltage drop across the junction is zero.

Power Conversion Efficiency: The conversion efficiency is a measure of the performance of a solar cell which could be determined by the maximum output power of the device as the ratio of power output to power input where the input power is the sum over all wavelengths which is commonly fixed at 100mW/cm 2 .

Open-Circuit Voltage: It can be determined in the open circuit condition, i.e. when current is zero, then the voltage across the output terminals is called open-circuit voltage.

Fill Factor (FF): It is the main parameter to evaluate the performance of solar cells and defined as the ratio of the obtainable maximum power to the product of the open-circuit voltage and short circuit current. Besides power conversion efficiency, it is one of the most significant parameters for the energy yield of a photovoltaic cell.

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