A layer of gold nanodots on the surface of indium-tin oxide (ITO) coated glass may improve the efficiency of organic photovoltaic cells, according to new research published in the journal, Gold Bulletin, a quarterly journal published by the World Gold Council.

The paper, written by an international team from France and Denmark, explains how a discontinuous film of gold nanodots just 0.5nm thick is sufficient to generate the performance improvement, according to a news release distributed Monday by the World Gold Council.

Organic photovoltaic cells have strong potential as a low cost means of generating solar power and are currently the focus of significant scientific interest. However, one of the factors limiting the efficiency of these cells at present is the energy alignment between the transparent ITO electrode and the organic semi-conductors responsible for harvesting light and conducting photo-generated charge carriers to the electrodes.

Our earlier work showed that a thin gold film, introduced at the interface between the ITO electrode and organic substrate, provides a strong improvement in the cell efficiency, lead author Linda Cattin at the University of Nantes, said in a statement. This new work shows that only fractional coverage with gold (15 percent) on the ITO electrode is required to provide the efficiency improvement. This discontinuous gold layer may provide a viable anode buffer layer for future organic photovoltaic devices.