Connecting physical properties of spin-casting solvents with morphology, nanoscale charge transport, and device performance of poly(3-hexylthiophene): Phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester bulk heterojunction solar cells

Pavel Dutta, Yu Xie, Mukesh Kumar, Monika Rathi, Phil Ahrenkiel, David Galipeau, Qiquan Qiao, Venkat Bommisetty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The correlation between the physical properties of spin-casting solvents, film morphology, nanoscale charge transport, and device performance was studied in poly(3-hexylthiophene):phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (P3HT: PCBM) blends, spin cast with two halogenated aromatic solvents: chlorobenzene (CB) and ortho-dichlorobenzene (1,2-DCB). 1,2-DCB-based blends exhibited fine phase separation of ∼10 to 15 nm length scale with ordered self-assembly of P3HT whereas blends spin cast from CB showed coarse phase separation with large isolated clusters of ∼25 to 100 nm of donor- and acceptor-rich regions. Higher solubility of both P3HT and PCBM in 1,2-DCB and a slower drying rate of 1,2-DCB (because of higher boiling point) facilitated self-organization and ordering of P3HT and promoted finer phase separation. Higher local hole mobility in 1,2-DCB-based blend was attributed to efficient hole transport through the ordered network of P3HT chains. Moreover, higher local illuminated current (dark + photocurrent) in 1,2-DCB-based blend suggested efficient diffusion and dissociation of excitons due to finer phase separation. As a consequence, 1,2-DCB-based devices exhibited higher short circuit current density (J sc), external quantum efficiency and power conversion efficiency in contrast to the CB-based device. It was also observed that the device performance was not limited by light absorption and exciton generation; rather morphology dependent processes subsequent to exciton generation, primarily charge transport to the electrodes, limited device performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11124
JournalJournal of Photonics for Energy
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Blend morphology
  • Bulk heterojunction
  • Hole mobility
  • Nanoscale charge transport
  • Organic solar cell
  • Scanning probe microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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