High-performance polymer solar cells are conventionally fabricated on the rigid and costly indium-tin-oxide (ITO) glass substrates, which are incompatible with the roll-to-roll process with low cost. This study shows that polymer solar cells can be made on ITO-free flexible stainless steel with only a moderate compromise in power conversion efficiency. A blend of poly (3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and (6,6)-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) was used as the active material for the inverted structure. The bottom electrode was an alloy of Al and Au spontaneously formed from a bi-layer during thermal annealing of the active layer. This alloy had a low work function of 3.9 eV, and a high resistance to oxide formation throughout the entire process. Semi-transparent Ag was used as the top electrode. These solar cells on stainless steel had an efficiency of 2.6%. The majority of the loss came from the top electrode transmission at approximately 60%. This all-metal approach makes roll-to-roll polymer cell fabrication possible.
- Blade coating
- Semi-transparent electrode