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The Role of Liquid Crystal order in Liquid Crystal-ZnO Nanoparticle/Nanowire Photovoltaics

Abstract: 

figure 1We investigate the role order plays in the transfer of charges in ZnO nanoparticle/nanowire/Liquid crystal system for photovoltaic applications. It is known that liquid crystals will align the nanoparticles in rows. We have found that in addition the nanoparticle helps align the liquid crystal when mixed in the appropriate percentage mixture in the liquid crystal. In this system, the liquid crystal acts as the hole conductor whereas the nanoparticle or nanowire acts as the electron conductor. We have used InSnO (ITO) electrodes to measure the electrical current. We have not used any other material other than the electrodes, the liquid crystal and the nanoparticles in order to see the direct effects the nanoparticles have on the liquid crystal and viceversa. We have observed that in this system a 30% weight of ZnO in the liquid crystal octylcyanobiphenyl (8CB) will

  1. Help to further align the liquid crystal.
  2. Produce the largest change in Voc with respect to the Voc of the nanoparticle.
  3. Increase the current generated.

We want to try these measurements with:

  1. different size nanoparticles and nanowires.
  2. different electrodes and an aligning film for the liquid crystal.
  3. Different liquid crystals.
  4. Different nanoparticles/nanowires such as TiO2 or CdSe to see if the changes observed above are improved.