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Issue 1, 2014
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Solution structure: defining polymer film morphology and optoelectronic device performance

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Abstract

Film structure plays a critical role in defining the performance of all organic optoelectronic devices, with the importance clearly illustrated in the development of organic acceptor–donor bulk heterojunction (BHJ) photovoltaic (OPV) devices where solvent and/or thermal annealing of the deposited active layer affect solar cell output. Herein we report that the polymer–polymer interactions in solution, which are dependent on the thermal history of the solution, are a first order parameter in controlling the properties of the final active layer and hence device performance. We illustrate the key role played by organic semiconductor interactions in solution with the high efficiency donor–acceptor co-polymer, poly[N-9′′-heptadecanyl-2,7-carbazole-alt-5,5-(4′,7′-di-2-thienyl-2′,1′,3′-benzothiadiazole)] (PCDTBT), and its blends with [6,6]-phenyl C71-butyric acid methyl ester (PC71BM). Differences in the cooling rate of the casting solution after dissolution can lead to a 20% variation in the ultimate efficiency of cells with identical active layer thicknesses with slow-cooled solutions giving rise to poorer devices. The oft-ignored intermolecular (polymer–polymer) interactions that occur in solution are manifest by dramatic differences in viscosity and are a function of concentration and molecular weight. Hence solution thermal history represents a critical new dimension in the processing landscape for organic polymer semiconductors.

Graphical abstract: Solution structure: defining polymer film morphology and optoelectronic device performance

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Publication details

The article was received on 13 Sep 2013, accepted on 19 Oct 2013 and first published on 31 Oct 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3TC31812E
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. C, 2014,2, 71-77
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    Solution structure: defining polymer film morphology and optoelectronic device performance

    P. Wolfer, A. Armin, A. Pivrikas, M. Velusamy, P. L. Burn and P. Meredith, J. Mater. Chem. C, 2014, 2, 71
    DOI: 10.1039/C3TC31812E

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