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P3HT/PCBM Bulk Heterojunction Solar Cells: Impact of Blend Composition and 3D Morphology on Device Performance

Authors

  • Svetlana S. van Bavel,

    1. Laboratory of Materials and Interface Chemistry and Soft Matter Cryo-TEM Research Unit Eindhoven University of Technology P.O. Box 513, NL-5600 MB Eindhoven (The Netherlands)
    2. Dutch Polymer Institute P.O. Box 902, NL-5600 AX Eindhoven (The Netherlands)
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  • Maik Bärenklau,

    1. Institute of Physics Technical University Ilmenau Weimarer Str. 32, 98693 Ilmenau (Germany)
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  • Gijsbertus de With,

    1. Laboratory of Materials and Interface Chemistry and Soft Matter Cryo-TEM Research Unit Eindhoven University of Technology P.O. Box 513, NL-5600 MB Eindhoven (The Netherlands)
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  • Harald Hoppe,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Physics Technical University Ilmenau Weimarer Str. 32, 98693 Ilmenau (Germany)
    • Institute of Physics Technical University Ilmenau Weimarer Str. 32, 98693 Ilmenau (Germany).
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  • Joachim Loos

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Materials and Interface Chemistry and Soft Matter Cryo-TEM Research Unit Eindhoven University of Technology P.O. Box 513, NL-5600 MB Eindhoven (The Netherlands)
    2. Dutch Polymer Institute P.O. Box 902, NL-5600 AX Eindhoven (The Netherlands)
    • Institute of Physics Technical University Ilmenau Weimarer Str. 32, 98693 Ilmenau (Germany).
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Abstract

The performance of polymer solar cells (PSC) strongly depends on the 3D morphological organization of the donor and acceptor compounds within the bulk heterojunction active layer. The technique of electron tomography is a powerful tool for studying 3D morphology of the layers composed of poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and a fullerene derivative ([6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester; PCBM), especially to quantify the amount and distribution of fibrillar P3HT nanocrystals throughout the volume of the active layer. In this study, electron tomography is used to characterize P3HT/PCBM layers with different blend compositions, both before and after thermal annealing. The power conversion efficiency of the corresponding PSCs is strongly dependent on the overall crystallinity of P3HT and the way P3HT crystals are distributed throughout the thickness of the active layer.

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