Determining the optimum morphology in high-performance polymer-fullerene organic photovoltaic cells

Gordon James Hedley, Alexander J Ward, Alexander Alekseev, Calvyn Travis Howells, Emiliano Rezende Martins, Luis A Serrano, Graeme Cooke, Arvydas Ruseckas, Ifor David William Samuel

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Abstract

The morphology of bulk heterojunction organic photovoltaic cells defines many of the device performance characteristics. Measuring the morphology is challenging due to the small length scales and low contrast between organic materials. Here we have utilised nanoscale photocurrent mapping, ultrafast fluorescence and exciton diffusion to observe the detailed morphology of a high performance blend. We show that optimised blends consist of elongated fullerene-rich and polymer-rich fibre-like domains which are 10-50 nm wide and 200-400 nm long. These elongated domains provide a concentration gradient for directional charge diffusion which helps extraction of charge pairs with 80% efficiency. In contrast, blends with agglomerated fullerene spheres show a much lower efficiency of charge extraction of ~45% which is attributed to poor electron and hole transport. Our results show that formation of narrow and elongated domains are desirable in bulk heterojunction solar cells.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2867
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2013

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