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Issue 2, 2012
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Fullerene crystallisation as a key driver of charge separation in polymer/fullerene bulk heterojunction solar cells

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Abstract

Solution processed polymer/fullerene blend films are receiving extensive attention as the photoactive layer of organic solar cells. In this paper we report a range of photophysical, electrochemical, physicochemical and structural data which provide evidence that formation of a relatively pure, molecularly ordered phase of the fullerene component, phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM), may be the key factor driving the spatial separation of photogenerated electrons and holes in many of these devices. PCBM crystallisation is shown to result in an increase in its electron affinity, providing an energetic driving force for spatial separation of electrons and holes. Based upon our observations, we propose a functional model applicable to many organic bulk heterojunction devices based upon charge generation in a finely intermixed polymer/fullerene phase followed by spatial separation of electrons and holes at the interface of this mixed phase with crystalline PCBM domains. This model has significant implications for the design of alternative acceptor materials to PCBM for organic solar cells.

Graphical abstract: Fullerene crystallisation as a key driver of charge separation in polymer/fullerene bulk heterojunction solar cells

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Publication details

The article was received on 14 Sep 2011, accepted on 17 Oct 2011 and first published on 19 Oct 2011


Article type: Edge Article
DOI: 10.1039/C1SC00674F
Citation: Chem. Sci., 2012,3, 485-492
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    Fullerene crystallisation as a key driver of charge separation in polymer/fullerene bulk heterojunction solar cells

    F. C. Jamieson, E. B. Domingo, T. McCarthy-Ward, M. Heeney, N. Stingelin and J. R. Durrant, Chem. Sci., 2012, 3, 485
    DOI: 10.1039/C1SC00674F

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