Morphology evolution via self-organization and lateral and vertical diffusion in polymer:fullerene solar cell blends

Mariano Campoy-Quiles, Toby Ferenczi, Tiziano Agostinelli, Pablo G. Etchegoin, Youngkyoo Kim, Thomas D. Anthopoulos, Paul N. Stavrinou, Donal D.C. Bradley, Jenny Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1343 Scopus citations

Abstract

Control of blend morphology at the microscopic scale is critical for optimizing the power conversion efficiency of plastic solar cells based on blends of conjugated polymer with fullerene derivatives. In the case of bulk heterojunctions of regioregular poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and a soluble fullerene derivative ([6,6]-phenyl C"6"1-butyric acid methyl ester, PCBM), both blend morphology and photovoltaic device performance are influenced by various treatments, including choice of solvent, rate of drying, thermal annealing and vapour annealing. Although the protocols differ significantly, the maximum power conversion efficiency values reported for the various techniques are comparable (4-5). In this paper, we demonstrate that these techniques all lead to a common arrangement of the components, which consists of a vertically and laterally phase-separated blend of crystalline P3HT and PCBM. We propose a morphology evolution that consists of an initial crystallization of P3HT chains, followed by diffusion of PCBM molecules to nucleation sites, at which aggregates of PCBM then grow. © 2008 Nature Publishing Group.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-164
Number of pages7
JournalNature Materials
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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