Nanoscale Analysis of a Hierarchical Hybrid Solar Cell in 3D



A quantitative method for the characterization of nanoscale 3D morphology is applied to the investigation of a hybrid solar cell based on a novel hierarchical nanostructured photoanode. A cross section of the solar cell device is prepared by focused ion beam milling in a micropillar geometry, which allows a detailed 3D reconstruction of the titania photoanode by electron tomography. It is found that the hierarchical titania nanostructure facilitates polymer infiltration, thus favoring intermixing of the two semiconducting phases, essential for charge separation. The 3D nanoparticle network is analyzed with tools from stochastic geometry to extract information related to the charge transport in the hierarchical solar cell. In particular, the experimental dataset allows direct visualization of the percolation pathways that contribute to the photocurrent.