A team of researchers headed by Dr Ross Hatton and Professor Tim Jones in the Department of Chemistry of University of Warwick has built a low cost transparent glass electrode coated with ultra-thin gold for organic solar cells.
The electrode is comparatively cost -effective since the thickness of the gold used for plating is just 8 billionths of a metre and the cost involved in developing one square metre of this electrode is just £4.5. The gold can be easily recovered from the organic solar cell at its final stage. In addition, gold is commonly used to develop competent interlinks and it is not a new material to the electronics segment.
Organic solar cells are dependent on transparent electrodes made of Indium Tin Oxide-plated glass due to the lack of a proper substitute. The complex Indium Tin Oxide material is highly unstable and if held on a plastic medium, its rough surface tends to break upon stooping. In addition, the material is not in adequate supply, making it relatively costly to procure.
A thin gold film would serve as an ideal substitute to ITO, but till date the possibility of coating a stable ultra-thin transparent gold film with electrical resistance properties is not yet established. The researchers have created a quick method for coating gold layers on glass. Significantly, this method is scalable and can be used in larger applications like solar cells and the gold-plated electrodes are chemically distinct.
Dr Hatton has stated that the new method of developing gold-plated transparent glass electrodes can be used in those applications like organic optoelectronics, nanoelectronics and nanophotonics, where tough, chemically distinct and ultra-fine platform electrodes are needed.