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Title: Analysis and modification of defective surface aggregates on PCDTBT:PCBM solar cell blends using combined Kelvin probe, conductive and bimodal atomic force microscopy

Abstract

Organic photovoltaic systems comprising donor polymers and acceptor fullerene derivatives are attractive for inexpensive energy harvesting. Extensive research on polymer solar cells has provided insight into the factors governing device-level efficiency and stability. However, the detailed investigation of nanoscale structures is still challenging. Here we demonstrate the analysis and modification of unidentified surface aggregates. The aggregates are characterized electrically by Kelvin probe force microscopy and conductive atomic force microscopy (C-AFM), whereby the correlation between local electrical potential and current confirms a defective charge transport. Bimodal AFM modification confirms that the aggregates exist on top of the solar cell structure, and is used to remove them and to reveal the underlying active layer. The systematic analysis of the surface aggregates suggests that the structure consists of PCBM molecules.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. George Washington Univ., Washington, DC (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
George Washington Univ., Washington, DC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1367086
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0011912
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 2190-4286
Publisher:
Beilstein Institute
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY; conductive atomic force microscopy; Kelvin probe force microscopy; multifrequency AFM; organic photovoltaics; polymer solar cells; surface defects

Citation Formats

Noh, Hanaul, Diaz, Alfredo J., and Solares, Santiago D. Analysis and modification of defective surface aggregates on PCDTBT:PCBM solar cell blends using combined Kelvin probe, conductive and bimodal atomic force microscopy. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.3762/bjnano.8.62.
Noh, Hanaul, Diaz, Alfredo J., & Solares, Santiago D. Analysis and modification of defective surface aggregates on PCDTBT:PCBM solar cell blends using combined Kelvin probe, conductive and bimodal atomic force microscopy. United States. doi:10.3762/bjnano.8.62.
Noh, Hanaul, Diaz, Alfredo J., and Solares, Santiago D. Wed . "Analysis and modification of defective surface aggregates on PCDTBT:PCBM solar cell blends using combined Kelvin probe, conductive and bimodal atomic force microscopy". United States. doi:10.3762/bjnano.8.62. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1367086.
@article{osti_1367086,
title = {Analysis and modification of defective surface aggregates on PCDTBT:PCBM solar cell blends using combined Kelvin probe, conductive and bimodal atomic force microscopy},
author = {Noh, Hanaul and Diaz, Alfredo J. and Solares, Santiago D.},
abstractNote = {Organic photovoltaic systems comprising donor polymers and acceptor fullerene derivatives are attractive for inexpensive energy harvesting. Extensive research on polymer solar cells has provided insight into the factors governing device-level efficiency and stability. However, the detailed investigation of nanoscale structures is still challenging. Here we demonstrate the analysis and modification of unidentified surface aggregates. The aggregates are characterized electrically by Kelvin probe force microscopy and conductive atomic force microscopy (C-AFM), whereby the correlation between local electrical potential and current confirms a defective charge transport. Bimodal AFM modification confirms that the aggregates exist on top of the solar cell structure, and is used to remove them and to reveal the underlying active layer. The systematic analysis of the surface aggregates suggests that the structure consists of PCBM molecules.},
doi = {10.3762/bjnano.8.62},
journal = {Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology},
number = ,
volume = 8,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {3}
}

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Works referenced in this record:

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Understanding Local and Macroscopic Electron Mobilities in the Fullerene Network of Conjugated Polymer-based Solar Cells: Time-Resolved Microwave Conductivity and Theory
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Trade-offs in sensitivity and sampling depth in bimodal atomic force microscopy and comparison to the trimodal case
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    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Single-Junction Polymer Solar Cells Exceeding 10% Power Conversion Efficiency
    journal, November 2014


    Toward Improved Lifetimes of Organic Solar Cells under Thermal Stress: Substrate-Dependent Morphological Stability of PCDTBT:PCBM Films and Devices
    journal, October 2015

    • Li, Zhe; Ho Chiu, Kar; Shahid Ashraf, Raja
    • Scientific Reports, Vol. 5, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1038/srep15149

    PCDTBT: en route for low cost plastic solar cells
    journal, January 2013

    • Beaupré, Serge; Leclerc, Mario
    • Journal of Materials Chemistry A, Vol. 1, Issue 37
    • DOI: 10.1039/c3ta12420g

    Long-term stable polymer solar cells with significantly reduced burn-in loss
    journal, December 2014

    • Kong, Jaemin; Song, Suhee; Yoo, Minji
    • Nature Communications, Vol. 5, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6688

    Control of the nanoscale crystallinity and phase separation in polymer solar cells
    journal, March 2008

    • Chu, Chih-Wei; Yang, Hoichang; Hou, Wei-Jen
    • Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 92, Issue 10
    • DOI: 10.1063/1.2891884

    Imaging the Evolution of Nanoscale Photocurrent Collection and Transport Networks during Annealing of Polythiophene/Fullerene Solar Cells
    journal, August 2009

    • Pingree, Liam S. C.; Reid, Obadiah G.; Ginger, David S.
    • Nano Letters, Vol. 9, Issue 8
    • DOI: 10.1021/nl901358v

    High-efficiency solution processable polymer photovoltaic cells by self-organization of polymer blends
    journal, October 2005

    • Li, Gang; Shrotriya, Vishal; Huang, Jinsong
    • Nature Materials, Vol. 4, Issue 11, p. 864-868
    • DOI: 10.1038/nmat1500

    Morphology characterization in organic and hybrid solar cells
    journal, January 2012

    • Chen, Wei; Nikiforov, Maxim P.; Darling, Seth B.
    • Energy & Environmental Science, Vol. 5, Issue 8
    • DOI: 10.1039/c2ee22056c

    Compositional mapping of surfaces in atomic force microscopy by excitation of the second normal mode of the microcantilever
    journal, January 2004

    • Rodrı́guez, Tomás R.; Garcı́a, Ricardo
    • Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 84, Issue 3
    • DOI: 10.1063/1.1642273

    Influence of fullerene photodimerization on the PCBM crystallization in polymer: Fullerene bulk heterojunctions under thermal stress
    journal, June 2013

    • Piersimoni, Fortunato; Degutis, Giedrius; Bertho, Sabine
    • Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics, Vol. 51, Issue 16
    • DOI: 10.1002/polb.23330

    Effect of mixed solvents on PCDTBT:PC70BM based solar cells
    journal, November 2011


    The Role of Mesoscopic PCBM Crystallites in Solvent Vapor Annealed Copolymer Solar Cells
    journal, February 2009

    • Bull, Tricia A.; Pingree, Liam S. C.; Jenekhe, Samson A.
    • ACS Nano, Vol. 3, Issue 3, p. 627-636
    • DOI: 10.1021/nn800878c

    Organic semiconductors: A theoretical characterization of the basic parameters governing charge transport
    journal, April 2002

    • Bredas, J. L.; Calbert, J. P.; da Silva Filho, D. A.
    • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 99, Issue 9
    • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.092143399

    Material property analytical relations for the case of an AFM probe tapping a viscoelastic surface containing multiple characteristic times
    journal, January 2017

    • López-Guerra, Enrique A.; Solares, Santiago D.
    • Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, Vol. 8
    • DOI: 10.3762/bjnano.8.223

    Space Charge Limited Current Measurements on Conjugated Polymer Films using Conductive Atomic Force Microscopy
    journal, June 2008

    • Reid, Obadiah G.; Munechika, Keiko; Ginger, David S.
    • Nano Letters, Vol. 8, Issue 6
    • DOI: 10.1021/nl080155l

    Polymer solar cells
    journal, February 2012


    2.5% efficient organic plastic solar cells
    journal, February 2001

    • Shaheen, Sean E.; Brabec, Christoph J.; Sariciftci, N. Serdar
    • Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 78, Issue 6, p. 841-843
    • DOI: 10.1063/1.1345834

    Theory of Multifrequency Atomic Force Microscopy
    journal, February 2008


    Scanning tunneling spectroscopy on organic semiconductors: Experiment and model
    journal, July 2004


    Polymer Photovoltaic Cells: Enhanced Efficiencies via a Network of Internal Donor-Acceptor Heterojunctions
    journal, December 1995


    Trade-offs in sensitivity and sampling depth in bimodal atomic force microscopy and comparison to the trimodal case
    journal, January 2014

    • Eslami, Babak; Ebeling, Daniel; Solares, Santiago D.
    • Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, Vol. 5
    • DOI: 10.3762/bjnano.5.125

    Energy level alignment of poly(3-hexylthiophene): [6,6]-phenyl C61 butyric acid methyl ester bulk heterojunction
    journal, July 2009

    • Xu, Zheng; Chen, Li-Min; Chen, Mei-Hsin
    • Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 95, Issue 1, Article No. 013301
    • DOI: 10.1063/1.3163056

    Efficiency enhancement in low-bandgap polymer solar cells by processing with alkane dithiols
    journal, May 2007

    • Peet, J.; Kim, J. Y.; Coates, N. E.
    • Nature Materials, Vol. 6, Issue 7, p. 497-500
    • DOI: 10.1038/nmat1928

    The Nanoscale Morphology of a PCDTBT:PCBM Photovoltaic Blend
    journal, April 2011

    • Staniec, Paul A.; Parnell, Andrew J.; Dunbar, Alan D. F.
    • Advanced Energy Materials, Vol. 1, Issue 4
    • DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201100144

    Efficiency of bulk-heterojunction organic solar cells
    journal, December 2013


    Compensating electrostatic forces by single-scan Kelvin probe force microscopy
    journal, May 2007


    Effects of Postproduction Treatment on Plastic Solar Cells
    journal, January 2003

    • Padinger, F.; Rittberger, R. S.; Sariciftci, N. S.
    • Advanced Functional Materials, Vol. 13, Issue 1, p. 85-88
    • DOI: 10.1002/adfm.200390011

    Role of the Charge Transfer State in Organic Donor-Acceptor Solar Cells
    journal, August 2010

    • Deibel, Carsten; Strobel, Thomas; Dyakonov, Vladimir
    • Advanced Materials, Vol. 22, Issue 37
    • DOI: 10.1002/adma.201000376

    Molecular Packing and Arrangement Govern the Photo-Oxidative Stability of Organic Photovoltaic Materials
    journal, September 2015


    Electrical Scanning Probe Microscopy on Active Organic Electronic Devices
    journal, January 2009

    • Pingree, Liam S. C.; Reid, Obadiah G.; Ginger, David S.
    • Advanced Materials, Vol. 21, Issue 1, p. 19-28
    • DOI: 10.1002/adma.200801466

    Scanning probe microscopy of solar cells: From inorganic thin films to organic photovoltaics
    journal, July 2012

    • O’Dea, James R.; Brown, Louisa M.; Hoepker, Nikolas
    • MRS Bulletin, Vol. 37, Issue 7
    • DOI: 10.1557/mrs.2012.143

    The emergence of multifrequency force microscopy
    journal, April 2012


    Visualizing physical, electronic, and optical properties of organic photovoltaic cells
    journal, January 2013

    • Pfannmöller, Martin; Kowalsky, Wolfgang; Schröder, Rasmus R.
    • Energy & Environmental Science, Vol. 6, Issue 10
    • DOI: 10.1039/c3ee41773e

    Bulk heterojunction solar cells with internal quantum efficiency approaching 100%
    journal, April 2009

    • Park, Sung Heum; Roy, Anshuman; Beaupré, Serge
    • Nature Photonics, Vol. 3, Issue 5, p. 297-302
    • DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2009.69

    Sub-surface imaging of carbon nanotube–polymer composites using dynamic AFM methods
    journal, March 2013


    Nanoscale Charge Transport and Internal Structure of Bulk Heterojunction Conjugated Polymer/Fullerene Solar Cells by Scanning Probe Microscopy
    journal, April 2008

    • Dante, Mark; Peet, Jeffrey; Nguyen, Thuc-Quyen
    • The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, Vol. 112, Issue 18
    • DOI: 10.1021/jp712086q

    Stability of Polymer Solar Cells
    journal, December 2011

    • Jørgensen, Mikkel; Norrman, Kion; Gevorgyan, Suren A.
    • Advanced Materials, Vol. 24, Issue 5
    • DOI: 10.1002/adma.201104187

    High Efficiency Polymer Solar Cells with Long Operating Lifetimes
    journal, April 2011

    • Peters, Craig H.; Sachs-Quintana, I. T.; Kastrop, John P.
    • Advanced Energy Materials, Vol. 1, Issue 4
    • DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201100138

    Understanding Local and Macroscopic Electron Mobilities in the Fullerene Network of Conjugated Polymer-based Solar Cells: Time-Resolved Microwave Conductivity and Theory
    journal, September 2013

    • Aguirre, Jordan C.; Arntsen, Christopher; Hernandez, Samuel
    • Advanced Functional Materials, Vol. 24, Issue 6
    • DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201301757

    Material property analytical relations for the case of an AFM probe tapping a viscoelastic surface containing multiple characteristic times
    journal, January 2017

    • López-Guerra, Enrique A.; Solares, Santiago D.
    • Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, Vol. 8
    • DOI: 10.3762/bjnano.8.223