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The development of nanoscale morphology in polymer: fullerene photovoltaic blends during solvent casting

Wang, Tao, Dunbar, Alan D. F., Staniec, Paul A., Pearson, Andrew J., Hopkinson, Paul E., Macdonald, John Emyr, Lilliu, Samuele, Pizzey, Claire, Terrill, Nicholas J., Donald, Athene M., Ryan, Anthony J., Jones, Richard A. L. and Lidzey, David G. 2010. The development of nanoscale morphology in polymer: fullerene photovoltaic blends during solvent casting. Soft Matter 6 (17) , pp. 4128-4134. 10.1039/c0sm00343c

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The power conversion efficiency in a conjugated polymer-functionalized fullerene bulk heterojunction organic photovoltaic (OPV) device is dependent both on the electronic properties of the constituent materials and on the nanoscale morphology of the active semiconductor layer thin-film. Here we use in situ ellipsometry and grazing incidence X-ray scattering (GI-XS) to study molecular self-organization in poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and [6,6]-phenyl C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) blend films in real time, during the drying process as they are cast from solution. We illustrate the evolution of the extinction coefficient from a solution to a solid, semi-crystalline state. We show that once the solvent fraction in the film falls below 50%, the P3HT undergoes rapid crystallization via heterogeneous nucleation; a process that is complete in seconds. We also evidence a rapid, dynamic self-annealing process that reduces the characteristic lamella spacing in the P3HT crystallites. The mechanistic understanding of film-formation demonstrated here is an important component in optimizing deposition processes suitable for large-area OPV manufacture.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics
Publisher: RSC
ISSN: 1744-683X
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:20

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