Fluorescent carbon quantum dots synthesized by chemical vapor deposition: : An alternative candidate for electron acceptor in polymer solar cells
Excitation-wavelength-dependent blue-greenish fluorescent carbon quantum dots (CQDs) with graphite structure were synthesized by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method. In comparison with those synthesized by hydrothermal method (named H-CQDs), C-CQDs have less hydrophilic terminal groups, showing good solubility in common organic solvents. Furthermore, these synthesized C-CQDs show a low LUMO energy level (LUMO = −3.84 eV), which is close to that of phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PC61BM, LUMO = −4.01 eV), the most widely used electron acceptor in polymer solar cells. Photoluminescence quenching of the poly(3-hexylthiophene-2,5-diyl):C-CQDs blended film (P3HT:C-CQDs) indicated that a photo-induced charge transfer between P3HT and C-CQDs occurs in such a composite film. Bulk heterojunction solar cells using C-CQDs as electron acceptors or doping materials were fabricated and tested. High fill factors were achieved for these C-CQDs based polymer solar cells, demonstrating that CQDs synthesized by CVD could be alternative to the fullerene derivatives for applying in polymer solar cells.