Energy Transfer Kinetics in Photosynthesis as an Inspiration for Improving Organic Solar Cells
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Clues to designing highly efficient organic solar cells may lie in understanding the architecture of light-harvesting systems and exciton energy transfer (EET) processes in very efficient photosynthetic organisms. Here, we compare the kinetics of excitation energy tunnelling from the intact phycobilisome (PBS) light-harvesting antenna system to the reaction center in photosystem II in intact cells of the cyanobacterium Acaryochloris marina with the charge transfer after conversion of photons into photocurrent in vertically aligned carbon nanotube (va-CNT) organic solar cells with poly(3-hexyl)thiophene (P3HT) as the pigment. We find that the kinetics in electron hole creation following excitation at 600 nm in both PBS and va-CNT solar cells to be 450 and 500 fs, respectively. The EET process has a 3 and 14 ps pathway in the PBS, while in va-CNT solar cell devices, the charge trapping in the CNT takes 11 and 258 ps. We show that the main hindrance to efficiency of va-CNT organic solar cells is the slow migration of the charges after exciton formation.
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