This paper presents the first examination of the potential for bicontinuous structures such as the gyroid structure to produce high efficiency solar cells based on conjugated polymers. The solar cell characteristics are predicted by a simulation model that shows how the morphology influences device performance through integration of all the processes occurring in organic photocells in a specified morphology. In bicontinuous phases, the surface defining the interface between the electron and hole transporting phases divides the volume into two disjoint subvolumes. Exciton loss is reduced because the interface at which charge separation occurs permeates the device so excitons have only a short distance to reach the interface. As each of the component phases is connected, charges will be able to reach the electrodes more easily. In simulations of the current–voltage characteristics of organic cells with gyroid, disordered blend and vertical rod (rods normal to the electrodes) morphologies, we find that gyroids have a lower than anticipated performance advantage over disordered blends, and that vertical rods are superior. These results are explored thoroughly, with geminate recombination, i.e. recombination of charges originating from the same exciton, identified as the primary source of loss. Thus, if an appropriate materials choice could reduce geminate recombination, gyroids show great promise for future research and applications.
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