Ultrafast spectroscopy on water-processable PCBM: rod–coil block copolymer nanoparticles†
Using ultrafast spectroscopy, we investigate the photophysics of water-processable nanoparticles composed of a block copolymer electron donor and a fullerene derivative electron acceptor. The block copolymers are based on a poly[2,6-(4,4-bis-(2-ethylhexyl)-4H-cyclopenta[2,1-b;3,4-b′]dithiophene)-alt-4,7-(2,1,3-benzothiadiazole)] rod, which is covalently linked with 2 or 100 hydrophilic coil units. In both samples the photogenerated excitons in the blend nanoparticles migrate in tens of ps to a donor/acceptor interface to be separated into free charges. However, transient absorption spectroscopy indicates that increasing the coil length from 2 to 100 units results in the formation of long living charge transfer states which reduce the charge generation efficiency. Our results shed light on the impact of rod–coil copolymer coil length on the blend nanoparticle morphology and provide essential information for the design of amphiphilic rod–coil block copolymers to increase the photovoltaic performances of water-processable organic solar cell active layers.