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Atomic-layer-deposited aluminum and zirconium oxides for surface passivation of TiO 2 in High-Efficiency Organic PhotovoltaicsThe reduction in electronic recombination losses by the passivation of surfaces is a key factor enabling high-efficiency solar cells. Here we investigate a strategy to passivate surface trap states of TiO 2 films used as cathode interlayers in organic photovoltaics (OPVs) through applying alumina (Al2O3) or zirconia (ZrO2) insulating nanolayers by thermal atomic layer deposition (ALD). Our results suggest that the surface traps in TiO 2 are oxygen vacancies, which cause undesirable recombination and high electron extraction barrier, reducing the open-circuit voltage and the short-circuit current of the complete OPV device. It was found that the ALD metal oxides enable excellent passivation of the TiO2 surface followed by a downward shift of the conduction band minimum. OPV devices based on different photoactive layers and using the passivated TiO2 electron extraction layers exhibited a significant enhancement of more than 30% in their power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) as compared to their reference devices without the insulating metal oxide nanolayers as a result of significant suppression of charge recombination and enhanced electron extraction rates at the TiO2/ALD metal-oxide/organic interface.
Domain wall free polar structure enhanced photodegradation activity in nanoscale ferroelectric BaxSr1-xTiO3Ferroelectric materials exhibit anomalous behavior due to the presence of domains and domain walls which are related to the spontaneous polarization inherent in the crystal structure. Control of ferroelectric domains and domain walls has been used to enhance device performances in ultrasound, pyroelectric detectors and photovoltaic systems with renewed interest in nanostructuring for energy applications. It is also known that the ferroelectric including domain walls can double photocatalytic rate and increase carrier lifetime from μs to ms However, there remains a lack of understanding on the different contributions of the domain and domain walls to photo-catalytic activities. Herein it is found, by comparing samples of nanostructured BaxSr1 xTiO3 with and without a polar domain, that the material with polar domains has a faster reaction rate (k=0.18 min-1) than the non polar one (k = 0.11 min-1). It is further revealed that the observed enhanced photoactivity of perovskite ferroelectric materials stems from the inherent polarization of the domain instead of domain walls. Here, the new understanding of the underlying physics of materials with a spontaneous dipole opens a door to enhance the performance of light induced energy harvesting systems.
Next-Generation Additive Manufacturing of Complete Standalone Sodium-Ion Energy Storage ArchitecturesThe first entirely AM/3D-printed sodium-ion (full-cell) battery is reported herein, presenting a paradigm shift in the design and prototyping of energy- storage architectures. AM/3D-printing compatible composite materials are developed for the first time, integrating the active materials NaMnO2 and TiO2 within a porous supporting material, before being AM/3D- printed into a proof-of-concept model based upon the basic geometry of commercially existing AA battery designs. The freestanding and completely AM/3D-fabricated device demonstrates a respectable performance of 84.3 mAh g-1 with a current density of 8.43 mA g-1; note that the structure is typically comprised of 80% thermoplastic, but yet, still works and functions as an energy-storage platform. The AM/3D-fabricated device is critically benchmarked against a battery developed using the same active materials, but fabricated via a traditional manufacturing method utilizing an ink-based/doctor-bladed methodology, which is found to exhibit a specific capacity of 98.9 mAh m-2 (116.35 mAh g-1). The fabrication of fully AM/3D-printed energy-storage architectures compares favorably with traditional approaches, with the former providing a new direction in battery manufacturing. This work represents a paradigm shift in the technological and design considerations in battery and energy-storage architectures