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Surface Morphology Changes of Graphene on Flexible PET Substrate Upon Thermal Annealing

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The performance of a polymer photovoltaic device using multilayered graphene on an amorphous PET substrate as the electrode was studied. The changes in surface morphology of graphene coated polyethylene terephthalate (PETG) substrate upon thermal annealing were investigated by atomic force microscopy (AFM), field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM) and current–voltage characteristics. The root mean square (RMS) roughness of PETG substrate before annealing was 36.5 nm that decreased to 11.5 nm after 10 min thermal annealing at 110 °C. The mean grain size of the substrate decreased from 2301 nm2 to 848 nm2. The PETG surface became smooth when thermally annealed as the voids created by the bubbles in the graphene layer were filled up with thermal expansion of the PET substrate. However, cracks present initially on the graphene due to surface stress between the graphene and PET layer grew further upon annealing that deteriorated the device performance. This study on the graphene surface morphology change upon annealing and the consequent drop in device performance vis-à-vis an ITO glass electrode shows potential drawback of solar cell device fabrication on such flexible substrates.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-11-01

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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