Simple routes for improving polythiophene: fullerene-based organic solar cells

TitleSimple routes for improving polythiophene: fullerene-based organic solar cells
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsXiao T, Cui W, Anderegg J, Shinar J, Shinar R
Journal TitleOrganic Electronics
Date Published02
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1566-1199
Accession NumberISI:000286462600006
Keywordsanodes, blends, CONDUCTIVITY, EFFICIENT, ENHANCEMENT, MORPHOLOGY, Organic solar cells, P3HT:PCBM, PEDOT:PSS, polymer photovoltaic cells, Power conversion efficiency, self-organization, sulfonate), thin-films

Improved power conversion efficiency (PCE), by up to similar to 27%, of organic solar cells based on poly(3,4-ethylenedioxy-thiophene): poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT: PSS)/poly(3-hexylthiophene):[6,6]-phenyl-C-60-butyric acid methyl ester (P3HT:PCBM) were obtained via simple modifications, widely applicable, in the fabrication of the spin-coated PEDOT: PSS layer. These included (i) further diluting the original PEDOT: PSS solution with deionized water, (ii) mixing the original PEDOT: PSS solution with ethylene glycol (EG), and (iii) spin coating EG over a PEDOT: PSS layer fabricated using the original solution. The optimal dilutions, spin coating rates, and durations were determined. Approach (iii) resulted in the best cell with a PCE of 4.7% as compared to 3.7% for the untreated PEDOT: PSS. To evaluate the origin of the improvements we monitored the PEDOT: PSS conductivity, external quantum efficiency of the devices, and their I-V curves that indicated an increase of similar to 16% in the short-circuit current I-SC. Other characteristics included the PEDOT: PSS layer thickness, its transmittance, P3HT: PCBM absorption spectra, its morphology, and surface chemical composition. The results indicate that in addition to the enhanced PEDOT: PSS conductivity (following some of the treatments) that improves charge extraction, enhanced PEDOT: PSS transmission and especially, enhanced P3HT: PCBM absorption contribute to improved solar cell performance, the latter by increasing I-SC. While the various treatments in the optimized devices had a minor effect on the PEDOT: PSS thickness, its morphology, and consequently that of the active layer, were affected. The surface roughness of the active layer increased significantly and, importantly, in devices with PEDOT: PSS/EG/P3HT: PCBM, PCBM aggregates were observed near the cathode. Such aggregates may also result in increased absorption and improved charge extraction. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Alternate JournalOrg. Electron.