High Work Function Nanoparticles

Nanoparticles have become widely used in many applications due to their unique properties that often differ to those of bulk materials. Their large surface to volume ratio means their overall properties are often dominated by that of their surface behavior and their small size means many nanoparticles exhibit quantum confinement effects.

Applications of High Work Function Nanoparticles

One area where nanoparticle use has become commonplace is in sensitized solar cells. Here, the nanoparticles, such as zinc oxide, are used to enhance device performance in a number of ways. This includes enhancing light absorption, increasing electron mobility and improving charge conduction, which is facilitated by having nanoparticles with optimal work functions. Using nanoparticles has advantage for manufacturing as well. It means that solar cells can be printed rather than using energy-intensive methods such as high temperature vacuum deposition to create crystalline materials. The resulting, flexible cells can then be used for windows and a wider array of applications.

Synthesizing High Work Function Solutions

Many of these properties can be tuned by controlling the chemical composition and size of the nanoparticles. However, synthesis of the nanoparticles themselves and completing of a full characterization to check the product composition and size distributions are what was originally desired can be a lengthy and costly process. This becomes even more challenging for applications where only a narrow range of nanoparticle sizes exhibit the desired performance characteristics.

High Work Function Nanoparticles from Avantama

To circumvent this without compromising on your ability to take full advantage of the benefits of nanoparticle formulations for your applications, Avantama offer a variety of off-the-shelf high work function nanoparticle formulations. This includes the N-21X range of aluminum-doped zinc oxide (Al:ZnO) nanoparticles and the N-20X range, which have a similar Al:ZnO nanoparticle base, but a higher overall work function.

Avantama’s products have already been used in many applications and have spurred the development of printable, flexible organic solar cell devices. The N-21X high work function nanoparticle solutions, and similar ranges, are compatible with both perovskite absorbers and silver nanowires, common components in many solar cell designs, and come with the added benefit of a long shelf life. The nanoparticles are dispersed in a mixture of alcohols and require no  additional treatment or processing before they can be used in processing methods such as spin-coating to create components for devices.

Typical work functions for the N-21X are -3.9 eV with a nanoparticle size of 12 nm but higher work function versions are also available. They are compatible with a range of other chemicals and do not cause any damage to absorbers or emitters so can be used in most normal architectures. They have excellent electrical conductivity to improve device efficiencies and properties which can also be tuned as required.

Avantama is a leader in high-tech materials for electronic applications and products such as the N-21X nanoparticle formulation can help reduce time-to-market for new devices and remove some of the burden associated with in-house synthesis and quality control. This means that high performance is guaranteed for their products for optimal device development, with properties that can be perfectly tuned for what you need.