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Molecular Intercalation and Cohesion of Organic Bulk Heterojunction Photovoltaic Devices



The phase separated bulk heterojunction (BHJ) layer in BHJ polymer:fullerene organic photovoltaic devices (OPV) are mechanically weak with low values of cohesion. Improved cohesion is important for OPV device thermomechanical reliability. BHJ devices are investigated and how fullerene intercalation within the active layer affects cohesive properties in the BHJ is shown. The intercalation of fullerenes between the side chains of the polymers poly(3,3″′-didocecyl quaterthiophene) (PQT-12) and poly(2,5-bis(3-hexadecylthiophen-2-yl)thieno[3,2-b]thiophene (pBTTT) is shown to enhance BHJ layer cohesion. Cohesion values range from ≈1 to 5 J m−2, depending on the polymer:fullerene blend, processing conditions, and composition. Devices with non-intercalated BHJ layers are found to have significantly reduced values of cohesion. The resulting device power conversion efficiencies (PCE) are also investigated and correlated with the device cohesion.