Non-halogenated diphenyl-chalcogenide solvent processing additives for high-performance polymer bulk-heterojunction solar cells†
The ability to control the morphologies of active layers is a critical factor in the successful development of polymer solar cells (PSCs), and solvent processing additives offer a simple and effective way to accomplish this. In particular, diphenyl ether (DPE) is one of the most effective solvent additives but analogous additives based on this structure have not yet been extensively investigated. In this work, we have fabricated PSCs and investigated photovoltaic device characteristics using the series of non-halogenated, diphenyl-chalcogen solvent additives; DPE, diphenyl sulfide (DPS) and diphenyl selenide (DPSe). DPS devices showed optimal power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) of up to 9.08%, and DPE devices also showed similarly high PCEs of up to 8.85%. In contrast, DPSe devices showed relatively low PCEs (5.45% at best) which we attribute to significant surface recombination and high series resistance, which led to limited open-circuit voltage (VOC). In the case of DPS, fast, field-independent photocurrent saturation with negligible bimolecular recombination led to efficient charge separation and collection, which resulted in the highest PCEs. Additionally, using 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene and DPS as an entirely non-halogenated solvent/additive system, we successfully demonstrated device fabrication with comparably high PCEs of up to 8.4%. This work elucidates the effects of diphenyl-based solvent additives in PSCs and suggests a great potential of DPS as an effective non-halogenated solvent additive.