Open Access Nano Express

Monitoring Charge Exchange in P3HT-Nanotube Composites Using Optical and Electrical Characterisation

Ioannis Alexandrou1*, Emmanouil Lioudakis23, Dimitrios Delaportas1, CZ Zhao1 and Andreas Othonos2

Author Affiliations

1 Electrical Engineering and Electronics, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L69 3GJ, UK

2 Department of Physics, Research Center of Ultrafast Science, University of Cyprus, P.O. Box 20537, Nicosia, 1678, Cyprus

3 Energy, Environment and Water Research Center, The Cyprus Institute, P.O. Box 27456, Nicosia, 1645, Cyprus

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2009, 4:635-639  doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9287-9

Published: 19 March 2009

Abstract

Charge exchange at the bulk heterojunctions of composites made by mixing single wall nanotubes (SWNTs) and polymers show potential for use in optoelectronic devices such as solar cells and optical sensors. The density/total area of these heterojunctions is expected to increase with increasing SWNT concentration but the efficiency of solar cell peaks at low SWNT concentrations. Most researchers use current–voltage measurements to determine the evolution of the SWNT percolation network and optical absorption measurements to monitor the spectral response of the composites. However, these methods do not provide a detailed account of carrier transport at the concentrations of interest; i.e., near or below the percolation threshold. In this article, we show that capacitance–voltage (CV) response of (metal)-(oxide)-(semiconducting composite) devices can be used to fill this gap in studying bulk heterojunctions. In an approach where we combine optical absorption methods withCVmeasurements we can acquire a unified optoelectronic response from P3HT-SWNT composites. This methodology can become an important tool for optoelectronic device optimization.