ABSTRACT The role of wide band gap oxide thin layer in inverted structure polymer solar cells was investigated by employing oxide films of TiO2 and Nb2O5approximately 10 nm in thickness deposited onto FTO substrates. The experimental results demonstrated that the thin oxide layer serving to separate the electron collecting electrode and the photoactive film of a blend of poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) was necessary to promote the formation of continuous uniform PCBM film to block holes in P3HT from being recombined with electrons in collecting electrode. A use of TiO2 buffer layer leads to power conversion efficiency as high as 2.8%. As for Nb2O5, in spite the fact that its conduction band is higher than the LUMO level of PCBM polymer acting as electron transport material, a power conversion of 2.7%, which was only slightly different from the 2.8% achieved for the cell employing TiO2. These experimental results suggest a tunneling mechanism for the electrons to transport from the PCBM to collecting electrode over the oxide film, instead of a diffusion through the oxide film arising from either energy or concentration difference of the photogenerated electrons.
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