I covered the photocurrent already before, for instance here. I pointed out that from the light intensity dependence of the short circuit current, it is impossible for many typical conditions to unambiguously determine the dominant loss mechanism or even the recombination order (1st (often called monomolecular, but not my favourite term;-) or 2nd order of decay).
If, however, you know (or guess) that the recombination order is two, you can use the above mentioned vs. data to determine which fraction of charges is lost to bimolecular recombination, . This was shown recently by [Koster 2011]. For , they found . Although I was not able to follow the exact derivation ([Update 5.4.2011] it can be derived by solving a simple differential equation, ), it seems to work. Easy method, although make sure not to have too much space charge in your device – even at the contacts, induced by low (ohmic) injection barriers (we compared it to our device simulation, and then you get significant deviations)! In my opinion, the latter point is not stressed enough in the paper, despite the nice approach.Concerning my discussion with Robert Street (see the links in the previous photocurrent blog post) if the dominant nongeminate recombination mechanism is monomolecular or bimolecular, he recently published another paper [Street 2011]. In this one, Bob claims that the recombination mechanism at short circuit and open circuit conditions are different. This is in opposition to our understanding. Also, the Durrant group is able to reconstruct the whole current-voltage characteristics of state-of-the-art organic solar cells (in which geminate recombination is negligible) by measuring the carrier concentration dependent carrier lifetime, and mapping it on the voltage dependent carrier concentration – I will not go into detail, have a look at their papers [Shuttle 2011]. Coming back to Bob Street, in order to explain why he believes that the recombination mechanism is differnt at open and short circuit, he explains
The TPV response is approximately a simple exponential decay, which is strikingly different from the power-law form of the TPC. The time constant decreases from ∼1 ms to 18 “μs for Voc increasing from 0.269 to 0.516 V. Again, this is a completely different result from the form of the photocurrent transients, which have a different magnitude of response time, depend much less on the voltage, and the voltage dependence is in the opposite direction.
As you may know, TPV=transient photovoltage, measured at open circuit, whereas TPC=transient photocurrent is determined under short circuit. One point against his argument is: TPV is a small-signal method, in which Voc is changed only by a few percent due to a (sufficiently weak) laser pulse in addition to bias illumination. Therefore, it decays monoexponentially. In contrast, TPC is a large signal. Bob Street points out that TPC at short circuit decays with a power law. Let me add that is similar to the large-signal method at open circuit, namely the time dependent open circuit voltage. The latter also decays with a power law, and not monoexponentially. Thus, no principal difference between recombination at short circuit and open circuit.
Finally, a nice publication concerning these topics is [Dibb 2011]. From the abstract,
We show that it is only safe to infer a linear recombination mechanism from a linear dependence of corrected photocurrent on light intensity under the following special conditions: (i) the photogenerated charge carrier density is much larger than the dark carrier density and (ii) the photogenerated carrier density is proportional to the photogeneration rate.
Indeed, it all depends;-)
And lastly (does this come after finally? ;-) a few links I found over the weeks. From the Coronene Blog, an excellent parody of how to publish high impact papers. An insightful article on mistakes in scientific programming by Zeeya Merali in Nature News. A list of the Top 100 Material Scientists, from Thomson Reuters based on impact factor etc – despite that, interesting;-) What’s wrong with scholarly publishing? How it used to be on petermr’s blog. Then: Is there a point in publishing corrections to articles? It seems not (Scholarly Kitchen)! Infodocket: Google Scholar Citations launched. On Nature Chemistry: The art of abstracts (similar to some others, behind the wall…). You know that I like preprint servers, as they are barrierless: arXiv just turned 20, written by Paul Ginsparg himself for Nature. Then nice pic: how people in science see each other…as always, there is some truth to simplifications;-) Nice article by Ben Coldacre on paywalls for science, Academic publishers run a guarded knowledge economy (Guardian).
That’s it. If you wonder why I have time to write, I have one month “off”: we call it parent time in Germany, it is my part 2 (part 1 was directly after the birth). See you again, still have to finish this other science thing…