Calligraphic solar cells: acknowledging paper and pencil

Abstract

We demonstrate fabrication and characterization of photovoltaic (PV) devices made using pencil, paper, and commonly available economical chemicals with a power conversion efficiency of ∼1.8%. The current collecting electrode of the device composed of multilayered graphene (MuLG) was hand-drawn on the cellulosic paper using an H2B pencil. CdSe quantum dots (QD) were used for charge generation, and 3,4,9,10-perylenetetracarboxylic dianhydride (PTCDA) as a bridging molecule to facilitate transfer of the photo-induced charges to the electrodes through MuLG. MuLG acted both as charge carrier and current collector electrode. The device fabrication and testing were accomplished in a wet lab under ambient conditions with minimum use of sophisticated instrumentation. The materials and devices were characterized using UV–visible, fluorescence, x-ray diffraction spectroscopy, and scanning and transmission electron microscopy. IV characteristics of the PV devices fabricated on paper and polyester transparency substrates were performed using a solar simulator (AM 1.5) under ambient wet laboratory conditions. The use of pencil and paper makes the device fabrication simple, environmentally responsible, and accessible to layperson thus opening a new window for low cost PV and opto-electronic devices.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We would like to acknowledge National Science Foundation (CHE 0748676), Office of Vice-Chancellor of Research, and Office of Sponsored Projects Administration (OSPA) at the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC), and NIH (GM 106364) for partial financial support of this research. The Scanning Electron Microscope used in this work was purchased through a grant from National Science Foundation (CHE 0959568).

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Correspondence to Punit Kohli.

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Dasari, M., Rajasekaran, P.R., Iyer, R. et al. Calligraphic solar cells: acknowledging paper and pencil. Journal of Materials Research 31, 2578–2589 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1557/jmr.2016.281

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