Absorptive carbon nanotube electrodes: consequences of optical interference loss in thin film solar cells.
A current bottleneck in the thin film photovoltaic field is the fabrication of low cost electrodes. We demonstrate ultrasonically spray coated multiwalled carbon nanotube (CNT) layers as opaque and absorptive metal-free electrodes deposited at low temperatures and free of post-deposition treatment. The electrodes show sheet resistance as low as 3.4 Ω □(-1), comparable to evaporated metallic contacts deposited in vacuum. Organic photovoltaic devices were optically simulated, showing comparable photocurrent generation between reflective metal and absorptive CNT electrodes for photoactive layer thickness larger than 600 nm when using archetypal poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) : (6,6)-phenyl C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) cells. Fabricated devices clearly show that the absorptive CNT electrodes display comparable performance to solution processed and spray coated Ag nanoparticle devices. Additionally, other candidate absorber materials for thin film photovoltaics were simulated with absorptive contacts, elucidating device design in the absence of optical interference and reflection.