Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Michael E. Hagerman




solar cells, polymer networks, spectroscopy


We have successfully created the first example of a bicontinuous conductive polymer network for use in hybrid QD-polymer solar cells via a mechanochemical route. Heterometallic dicyanoaurate coordination polymers were used as intercalative hosts to promote in situ growth of emeraldine polyaniline (PANI), which provides electron conduction pathways within the active layer. Cu2+-excanged Laponite RD nanodiscs were used to direct the self-assembly of the bicontinuous polymer networks and nanomorphology within the nanocomposites. These PANI/Laponite coordination polymers were extensively characterized by scanning electron microscopy, attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and ultraviolet-visible absorption spectroscopy in order to probe polymer-nanoparticle and polymer-polymer interactions. PANI and Laponite both serve to template the coordination polymer composites. Nano- and microstructures ranging from flowers to hollow spheres to wires-upon-wires growth were observed. Several bulk heterojunction solar cell active layers were synthesized by mixing varying ratios of the PANI/Laponite coordination polymer with poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS), a hole-conductive polymer, and tris(bipyridine)ruthenium(II) chloride (Rubipy), a chromophore. These active layers were used to fabricate bulk heterojunction solar cells. Future work will include making conductivity measurements on these solar cells, as well as fabricating new solar cells with incorporated CdSe quantum dots. The ability to tune Au–Au aurophilic and Au-Se interactions may enhance the monodispersion of semiconductor nanoparticle chromophores, leading to improved photoconductivity.

Included in

Chemistry Commons