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Impact of Background Oxygen Pressure on the Pulsed-Laser Deposition of ZnO Nanolayers and on Their Corresponding Performance as Electron Acceptors in PbS Quantum-Dot Solar Cells

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journal contribution
posted on 10.01.2019, 00:00 by Qian Dong, Huiyan Liu, Yukihiro Hara, Hannah E. Starr, Jillian L. Dempsey, Rene Lopez
ZnO films are commonly employed as n-type semiconductors in heterojunctions with PbS colloidal quantum-dot (CQDs) films because of their outstanding optical transparency and electron acceptor properties, yet studies of the impact of ZnO film microstructure, composition, and defect qualities on the solar-cell performance are quite limited. Here we report on the fabrication of ZnO films via pulsed-laser deposition and use these films to investigate how different morphologies affect the PbS CQD solar-cell performance. By modification of the background gas O2 pressures during the ZnO deposition process, the device performance approaching a 7.8% energy conversion efficiency is achieved with an O2 pressure of 100 mTorr. Higher or lower O2 pressures led to significantly lower device efficiency. We employ various materials and device characterizations to highlight the differences in the physical properties introduced by the fabrication oxygen pressure. In particular, we have found that the differences in the type and density of ZnO oxygen defects are the key factors behind the dispersion in solar-cell performances.