Multi-parameter microscopy aids design of improved optoelectronic devices

Multi-parameter microscopy aids design of improved optoelectronic devices
The STEOM apparatus for multi-parameter characterisation of optoelectronic devices at the nanoscale. Credit: National Physical Laboratory

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has developed a novel measurement method, providing simultaneous topographical, electrical, chemical and optical microscopy (STEOM) at the nanoscale for the first time. The new method can be used to optimise the performance of optoelectronic devices such as organic solar cells, sensors and transistors.

As part of an international collaboration, NPL researchers demonstrated the direct application of the new method to the optimisation of . Transparent, flexible and low-cost organic solar could offer a solution to large-scale, low-carbon energy generation. However, a lack of analytical techniques that can simultaneously probe device properties at the nanoscale has presented a major obstacle to their optimisation.

The new STEOM method developed at NPL addresses this problem, providing simultaneous measurements of topography and electrical, chemical and optical properties, while also being non-destructive, causing no damage to the samples being measured. The breakthrough was achieved by combining plasmonic optical signal enhancement with electrical-mode . This allows the relationship between surface morphology, chemical composition and current generation in operating organic solar cells to be explored at the nanoscale for the first time.

The team demonstrated that information gained using the method can successfully explain the performance of organic solar cells in terms of the nanoscale composition of their active surface layer, and could be used to identify the best routes for device optimisation. In addition to organic solar cells, the can be applied to a range of different problems where nanoscale electronic properties are influenced by surface composition and could consequently be used to guide the design of improved , from sensors to LEDs.

Explore further

Organic solar cell breakthrough

More information: Naresh Kumar et al. Simultaneous topographical, electrical and optical microscopy of optoelectronic devices at the nanoscale, Nanoscale (2017). DOI: 10.1039/C6NR09057
Journal information: Nanoscale

Citation: Multi-parameter microscopy aids design of improved optoelectronic devices (2017, March 24) retrieved 13 May 2021 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments