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Title: Optimizing the fabrication process and interplay of device components of polymer solar cells using a field-based multiscale solar-cell algorithm

Abstract

Both the device composition and fabrication process are well-known to crucially affect the power conversion efficiency of polymer solar cells. Major advances have recently been achieved through the development of novel device materials and inkjet printing technologies, which permit to improve their durability and performance considerably. In this work, we demonstrate the usefulness of a recently developed field-based multiscale solar-cell algorithm to investigate the influence of the material characteristics, like, e.g., electrode surfaces, polymer architectures, and impurities in the active layer, as well as post-production treatments, like, e.g., electric field alignment, on the photovoltaic performance of block-copolymer solar-cell devices. Our study reveals that a short exposition time of the polymer bulk heterojunction to the action of an external electric field can lead to a low photovoltaic performance due to an incomplete alignment process, leading to undulated or disrupted nanophases. With increasing exposition time, the nanophases align in direction to the electric field lines, resulting in an increase of the number of continuous percolation paths and, ultimately, in a reduction of the number of exciton and charge-carrier losses. Moreover, we conclude by modifying the interaction strengths between the electrode surfaces and active layer components that a too low or too highmore » affinity of an electrode surface to one of the components can lead to defective contacts, causing a deterioration of the device performance. Finally, we infer from the study of block-copolymer nanoparticle systems that particle impurities can significantly affect the nanostructure of the polymer matrix and reduce the photovoltaic performance of the active layer. For a critical volume fraction and size of the nanoparticles, we observe a complete phase transformation of the polymer nanomorphology, leading to a drop of the internal quantum efficiency. For other particle-numbers and -sizes, we observe only a local perturbation of the nanostructure, diminishing the number of continuous percolation paths to the electrodes and, therefore, reducing the device performance. From these investigations, we conclude that our multiscale solar-cell algorithm is an effective approach to investigate the impact of device materials and post-production treatments on the photovoltaic performance of polymer solar cells.« less

Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, University of Regensburg, D-93040 Regensburg (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22415779
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Chemical Physics; Journal Volume: 142; Journal Issue: 18; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; AFFINITY; CHARGE CARRIERS; COPOLYMERS; ELECTRIC FIELDS; FABRICATION; HETEROJUNCTIONS; NANOPARTICLES; NANOSTRUCTURES; PERFORMANCE; PHASE TRANSFORMATIONS; PHOTOVOLTAIC EFFECT; QUANTUM EFFICIENCY; SERVICE LIFE; SOLAR CELLS; SURFACES; WEAR RESISTANCE

Citation Formats

Donets, Sergii, Pershin, Anton, and Baeurle, Stephan A., E-mail: stephan.baeurle@chemie.uni-regensburg.de. Optimizing the fabrication process and interplay of device components of polymer solar cells using a field-based multiscale solar-cell algorithm. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1063/1.4919649.
Donets, Sergii, Pershin, Anton, & Baeurle, Stephan A., E-mail: stephan.baeurle@chemie.uni-regensburg.de. Optimizing the fabrication process and interplay of device components of polymer solar cells using a field-based multiscale solar-cell algorithm. United States. doi:10.1063/1.4919649.
Donets, Sergii, Pershin, Anton, and Baeurle, Stephan A., E-mail: stephan.baeurle@chemie.uni-regensburg.de. Thu . "Optimizing the fabrication process and interplay of device components of polymer solar cells using a field-based multiscale solar-cell algorithm". United States. doi:10.1063/1.4919649.
@article{osti_22415779,
title = {Optimizing the fabrication process and interplay of device components of polymer solar cells using a field-based multiscale solar-cell algorithm},
author = {Donets, Sergii and Pershin, Anton and Baeurle, Stephan A., E-mail: stephan.baeurle@chemie.uni-regensburg.de},
abstractNote = {Both the device composition and fabrication process are well-known to crucially affect the power conversion efficiency of polymer solar cells. Major advances have recently been achieved through the development of novel device materials and inkjet printing technologies, which permit to improve their durability and performance considerably. In this work, we demonstrate the usefulness of a recently developed field-based multiscale solar-cell algorithm to investigate the influence of the material characteristics, like, e.g., electrode surfaces, polymer architectures, and impurities in the active layer, as well as post-production treatments, like, e.g., electric field alignment, on the photovoltaic performance of block-copolymer solar-cell devices. Our study reveals that a short exposition time of the polymer bulk heterojunction to the action of an external electric field can lead to a low photovoltaic performance due to an incomplete alignment process, leading to undulated or disrupted nanophases. With increasing exposition time, the nanophases align in direction to the electric field lines, resulting in an increase of the number of continuous percolation paths and, ultimately, in a reduction of the number of exciton and charge-carrier losses. Moreover, we conclude by modifying the interaction strengths between the electrode surfaces and active layer components that a too low or too high affinity of an electrode surface to one of the components can lead to defective contacts, causing a deterioration of the device performance. Finally, we infer from the study of block-copolymer nanoparticle systems that particle impurities can significantly affect the nanostructure of the polymer matrix and reduce the photovoltaic performance of the active layer. For a critical volume fraction and size of the nanoparticles, we observe a complete phase transformation of the polymer nanomorphology, leading to a drop of the internal quantum efficiency. For other particle-numbers and -sizes, we observe only a local perturbation of the nanostructure, diminishing the number of continuous percolation paths to the electrodes and, therefore, reducing the device performance. From these investigations, we conclude that our multiscale solar-cell algorithm is an effective approach to investigate the impact of device materials and post-production treatments on the photovoltaic performance of polymer solar cells.},
doi = {10.1063/1.4919649},
journal = {Journal of Chemical Physics},
number = 18,
volume = 142,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu May 14 00:00:00 EDT 2015},
month = {Thu May 14 00:00:00 EDT 2015}
}
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  • Abstract The vision of organic photovoltaics is that of a low cost solar energy conversion platform that provides lightweight, flexible solar cells that are easily incorporated into existing infrastructure with minimal impact on land usage. Polymer solar cells have been a subject of growing research interest over the past quarter century, and are now developed to the point where they are on the verge of introduction into the market. Towards the goal of continuing to improve the performance of polymer solar cells, a number of avenues are being explored. Here, the focus is on optimization of device performance via themore » development of a more fundamental understanding of device parameters. The fundamental operating principle of an organic solar cell is based on the cooperative interaction of molecular or polymeric electron donors and acceptors. Here the state-of-the-art in understanding of the physical and electronic interactions between donor and acceptor components is examined, as is important for understanding future avenues of research and the ultimate potential of this technology.« less