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Nanostructured Materials for Organic Photovoltaic Devices Open Access


Other title
thin films
organic solar cell
glancing angle deposition
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
van Dijken, Jaron G
Supervisor and department
Brett, Michael (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
McDermott, Mark (Chemistry)
Barlage, Douglas (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
DeCorby, Ray (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Shankar, Karthik (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Preston, John (Engineering Physics, McMaster University)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Microsystems and Nanodevices
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This thesis outlines several new approaches to fabricating improved organic solar cell (OSC) designs. Glancing angle deposition (GLAD) was used to grow thin films of metal phthalocyanine (MPc) materials with columnar morphologies suitable for use in OSCs. Advanced substrate motion techniques were used to constrain column broadening during growth, in order to approach diameters comparable to the short exciton diffusion lengths in these materials. Substrate patterning was used to predefine growth sites for these columnar films, and thereby regulate column spacing and improve film uniformity. Increased column densities and decreased column diameters were achieved as a result. Integration of columnar films into OSCs was challenged by the sensitivity of MPc materials to the solvents used to cast the adjacent layer. Significant recrystallization of the films occurred when directly contacted by these solvents. Varying degrees of material mixing between layers were observed as a result of the solvents when casting the adjacent layer. This result provides an alternative approach to building a mixed active layer structure, which has so far only been possible via codeposition of vapors or polymer blending. Material mixing was shown to improve device performance, which led to photoconversion efficiencies of up to 3.0% when used in combination with a GLAD-structured MPc layer. This result stands among the best results achieved in the literature for these devices. Optimized devices were enabled by a careful evaluation of the degradation behavior and thickness effects of the various device layers. Argon plasma etching was used to structure planar MPc films and commercial indium tin oxide (ITO). Nanopillar features emerged in both cases, which are very attractive from an OSC perspective. The surface composition of these films was altered by the etching process, resulting in damaged film properties. The damage to MPc films was irreversible, preventing their ideal morphologies from improving OSC performance. For ITO, however, optical and electrical properties were recovered using a two-stage annealing process, leaving the films fully functional for use in a variety of optoelectronic devices.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
J.G. Van Dijken, M.J. Brett, “Dry Etching of Copper Phthalocyanine Thin Films: Effects on Morphology and Surface Stoichiometry,” Molecules 17 (2012) 10119.J.G. Van Dijken, M.J. Brett, “Nanopillar ITO elecrodes via argon plasma etching,” J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 30 (2012) 040606.J.G. Van Dijken, N.L.-Y. Wu, M.D. Fleischauer, J.M. Buriak, M.J. Brett, “Morphology control and nanoscale patterning of small molecule organic thin films,” Proc. of SPIE Vol. 8435 (2012) 84350R.J.G. Van Dijken, M.D. Fleischauer, M.J. Brett, “Solvent effects on ZnPc thin films and their role in fabrication of nanostructured organic solar cells,” Org. Electron 12 (2011) 2111.J.G. Van Dijken, M.D. Fleischauer, M.J. Brett, “Advanced Nanostructuring of Metal Phthalocyanines for Organic Photovoltaic Devices,” Proc. 37th IEEE Photov. Spec. Conf. (2011).J.G. Van Dijken, M.D. Fleischauer, M.J. Brett, “Controlled nanostructuring of CuPc thin films via glancing angle deposition for idealized organic photovoltaic architectures,” J. Mater. Chem. 21 (2011) 1013.J.G. Van Dijken, M.D. Fleischauer, M.J. Brett, “Morphology control of CuPc thin films via Glancing Angle Deposition,” Proc. 33rd IEEE Photov. Spec. Conf. (2008) 1222.

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