Degradation Effects Related to the Hole Transport Layer in Organic Solar Cells



The influence of the hole transport layer on device stability in polymer:fullerene bulk-heterojunction solar cells is reported. Three different hole transport layers varying in composition, dispersion solvent, electrical conductivity, and work function were used in these studies. Two water-based hole transport layers, poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrene sulfonate) and polyaniline:poly(styrene sulfonate), and one isopropyl alcohol-based polyaniline:poly(styrene sulfonate) transport layer were investigated. Solar cells with the different hole transport layers were fabricated and degraded under illumination. Current–voltage, capacitance–voltage, and capacitance–frequency data were collected at light intensities of 16, 30, 48, 80, and 100 mW cm−2 over a period of 7 h. Device performance and stability were compared between nonencapsulated and encapsulated samples to gain understanding about degradation effects related to oxygen and water as well as degradation mechanisms related to the intrinsic instability of the solar cell materials and interfaces. It is demonstrated that the properties of the hole transport layer can have a significant impact on the stability of organic solar cells.