Doping ZnO Electron Transport Layers with MoS2 Nanosheets Enhances the Efficiency of Polymer Solar Cells

Yi Jiun Huang, Hsiu Cheng Chen, Hsi Kuei Lin, Kung-Hwa Wei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


In this study, we incorporated molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) nanosheets into sol-gel processing of zinc oxide (ZnO) to form ZnO:MoS2 composites for use as electron transport layers (ETLs) in inverted polymer solar cells featuring a binary bulk heterojunction active layer. We could effectively tune the energy band of the ZnO:MoS2 composite film from 4.45 to 4.22 eV by varying the content of MoS2 up to 0.5 wt %, such that the composite was suitable for use in bulk heterojunction photovoltaic devices based on poly[bis(5-(2-ethylhexyl)thien-2-yl)benzodithiophene-alt-(4-(2-ethylhexyl)-3-fluorothienothiophene)-2-carboxylate-2,6-diyl] (PTB7-TH)/phenyl-C71-butryric acid methyl ester (PC71BM). In particular, the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of the PTB7-TH/PC71BM (1:1.5, w/w) device incorporating the ZnO:MoS2 (0.5 wt %) composite layer as the ETL was 10.1%, up from 8.8% for the corresponding device featuring ZnO alone as the ETL, a relative increase of 15%. Incorporating a small amount of MoS2 nanosheets into the ETL altered the morphology of the ETL and resulted in enhanced current densities, fill factors, and PCEs for the devices. We used ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy, synchrotron grazing incidence wide-/small-angle X-ray scattering, atomic force microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy to characterize the energy band structures, internal structures, surface roughness, and morphologies, respectively, of the ZnO:MoS2 composite films.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20196-20204
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number23
StatePublished - 13 Jun 2018


  • electron transport layer
  • inverted solar cell
  • MoS nanosheets
  • photovoltaics
  • surface morphology
  • synchrotron grazing incidence small-angle X-ray scattering
  • ZnO:MoS nanocomposites

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