Feasibility of large-scale fabrication of flexible solar cells with graphene electrodes




Upadhyay, Parth

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Amidst the increased momentum towards sustainable forms of energy for meeting future demands, greater focus has been placed on newer technologies such as flexible solar cells. Here, the feasibility of graphene as an electrode replacement for organic and other thin film solar cells is reported. Graphene is often cited as an electrode substitute for commonly used transparent conductors like indium tin oxide. In this study, the possibility of doing this was tested by comparing several samples involving monolayer graphene. These top contact samples included indium tin oxide, wet etched graphene, silver nanowire coated graphene, and dry transfer graphene. Using a custom prepared 1 in² CuInSe₂ nanocrystal (CIS NC) solar cell substrate, each individual top contact was tested. It was conducted by applying various intensities of incident irradiance onto the solar cell prototype. Additionally, the tests were conducted by applying several different loads on the solar cell to get a more complete picture of the performance profile of each configuration. After collecting other data, including the transparency of each top contact, it was analyzed to detect any trends. From this, it was found that certain forms of graphene provided comparable results to the widely used indium tin oxide. One of the best performing was wet etched graphene and, in some cases, showed better electrical response than the oxide. In addition to this, dry transfer graphene also showed promise as being almost on par with the other samples. This is important because dry transfer graphene has several manufacturing advantages including the ability for substrate reuse without chemical use. It was found that the transparency of the top contact played a significant role in its performance. The study shows that graphene’s use as a PV electrode is feasible and warrants further research.


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