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Transparent Ultrathin Oxygen-Doped Silver Electrodes for Flexible Organic Solar Cells



An effective method for depositing highly transparent and conductive ultrathin silver (Ag) electrodes using minimal oxidation is reported. The minimal oxidation of Ag layers significantly improves the intrinsic optical and structural properties of Ag without any degradation of its electrical conductivity. Oxygen-doped Ag (AgOx) layers of thicknesses as low as 6 nm exhibit completely 2D and continuous morphologies on ZnO films, smaller optical reflections and absorbances, and smaller sheet resistances compared with those of discontinuous and granular-type Ag layers of the same thickness. A ZnO/AgOx/ZnO (ZAOZ) electrode using an AgOx (O/Ag = 3.4 at%) layer deposited on polyethylene terephthalate substrates at room temperature shows an average transmittance of 91%, with a maximum transmittance of 95%, over spectral range 400−1000 nm and a sheet resistance of 20 Ω sq−1. The average transmittance value is increased by about 18% on replacing a conventional ZnO/Ag/ZnO (ZAZ) electrode with the ZAOZ electrode. The ZAOZ electrode is a promising bottom transparent conducting electrode for highly flexible inverted organic solar cells (IOSCs), and it achieves a power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 6.34%, whereas an IOSC using the ZAZ electrode exhibits a much lower PCE of 5.65%.