Comparison of the Photovoltaic Characteristics and Nanostructure of Fullerenes Blended with Conjugated Polymers with Siloxane-Terminated and Branched Aliphatic Side Chains

Do Hwan Kim, Alexander L. Ayzner, Anthony L. Appleton, Kristin Schmidt, Jianguo Mei, Michael F. Toney, Zhenan Bao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations

Abstract

All-organic bulk heterojunction solar cells based on blends of conjugated polymers with fullerenes have recently surpassed the 8% efficiency mark and are well on their way to the industrially relevant ∼15% threshold. Using a low band-gap conjugated polymer, we have recently shown that polymer side chain engineering can lead to dramatic improvement in the in-plane charge carrier mobility. In this article, we investigate the effectiveness of siloxy side chain derivatization in controlling the photovoltaic performance of polymer:[6,6]-phenyl-C[71]-butyric acid methyl ester (PC71BM) blends and hence its influence on charge transport in the out-of-plane direction relevant for organic solar cells. We find that, in neat blends, the photocurrent of the polymer with siloxy side chains (PII2T-Si) is 4 times greater than that in blends using the polymer with branched aliphatic side chains (PII2T-ref). This difference is due to a larger out-of-plane hole mobility for PII2T-Si brought about by a largely face-on crystallite orientation as well as more optimal nanoscale polymer:PC71BM mixing. However, upon incorporating a common processing additive, 1,8-diiodooctane (DIO), into the spin-casting blend solution and following optimization, the PII2T-ref:PC71BM OPV device performance undergoes a large improvement and becomes the better-performing device, almost independent of DIO concentration (>1%). We find that the precise amount of DIO plays a larger role in determining the efficiency of PII2T-Si:PC71BM, and even at its maximum, the device performance lags behind optimized PII2T-ref:PC71BM blends. Using a combination of atomic force microscopy and small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering, we are able to elucidate the morphological modifications associated with the DIO-induced changes in both the nanoscale morphology and the molecular packing in blend films. © 2012 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-440
Number of pages10
JournalChemistry of Materials
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 18 2013
Externally publishedYes

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