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Title: Peculiarity of two thermodynamically-stable morphologies and their impact on the efficiency of small molecule bulk heterojunction solar cells

Structural characteristics of the active layers in organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices play a critical role in charge generation, separation and transport. Here we report on morphology and structural control of p-DTS(FBTTh2)2:PC71BM films by means of thermal annealing and 1,8-diiodooctane (DIO) solvent additive processing, and correlate it to the device performance. By combining surface imaging with nanoscale depth-sensitive neutron reflectometry (NR) and X-ray diffraction, three-dimensional morphologies of the films are reconstituted with information extending length scales from nanometers to microns. DIO promotes the formation of a well-mixed donor-acceptor vertical phase morphology with a large population of small p-DTS(FBTTh2)2 nanocrystals arranged in an elongated domain network of the film, thereby enhancing the device performance. In contrast, films without DIO exhibit three-sublayer vertical phase morphology with phase separation in agglomerated domains. Our findings are supported by thermodynamic description based on the Flory-Huggins theory with quantitative evaluation of pairwise interaction parameters that explain the morphological changes resulting from thermal and solvent treatments. Our study reveals that vertical phase morphology of small-molecule based OPVs is significantly different from polymer-based systems. Lastly, the significant enhancement of morphology and information obtained from theoretical modeling may aid in developing an optimized morphology to enhance device performance for OPVs.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  3. UNSW Australia, Sydney, NSW (Australia)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY nanoscale materials; solar cells