Sub-glass transition annealing enhances polymer solar cell performance†
Thermal annealing of non-crystalline polymer:fullerene blends typically results in a drastic decrease in solar cell performance. In particular aggressive annealing above the glass transition temperature results in a detrimental coarsening of the blend nanostructure. We demonstrate that mild annealing below the glass transition temperature is a viable avenue to control the nanostructure of a non-crystalline thiophene–quinoxaline copolymer:fullerene blend. Direct imaging methods indicate that coarsening of the blend nanostructure can be avoided. However, a combination of absorption and luminescence spectroscopy reveals that local changes in the polymer conformation as well as limited fullerene aggregation are permitted to occur. As a result, we are able to optimise the solar cell performance evenly across different positions of the coated area, which is a necessary criterion for large-scale, high throughput production.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Emerging Investigators