Networks of silver nanowires (AgNWs) are promising candidates for transparent conducting electrodes in organic photovoltaics (OPV), as they achieve similar performance as the commonly used indium tin oxide (ITO) at lower cost and increased flexibility. The initial sheet resistance (Rs) of AgNW electrodes typically needs to be reduced by a post-annealing step (90 min@200 °C), being detrimental for processing on polymeric substrates.
We present novel low temperature-based methods to integrate AgNWs in organic small molecule-based photovoltaics, either as transparent and highly conductive bottom-electrode or, for the first time, as spray-coated AgNW top-electrode. The bottom-electrodes are prepared by organic matrix assisted low-temperature fusing. Here, selected polymers are coated below the AgNWs to increase the interaction between NWs and substrate. In comparison to networks without these polymeric sublayers, the Rs is reduced by two orders of magnitude.
AgNW top-electrodes are realized by dispersing modified high-quality AgNWs in inert solvents, which do not damage small molecule layers. Accordingly, our AgNW dispersion can be spray-coated onto all kind of OPV devices. Both bottom- and top-electrodes show a Rs of <11 Ω/ at >87 % transparency directly after spray-coating at very low substrate temperatures of <80 °C. We also demonstrate the implementation of our AgNW electrodes in organic solar cells. The corresponding devices show almost identical performance compared to organic solar cells exploiting ITO as bottom or thermally evaporated thin-metal as top-electrode.