Interplay between Bimolecular Recombination and Carrier Transport Distances in Bulk Heterojunction Organic Solar Cells

Authors

  • John R. Tumbleston,

    1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Phillips Hall, CB 3255, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
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  • Yingchi Liu,

    1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Phillips Hall, CB 3255, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
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  • Edward T. Samulski,

    1. Department of Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Caudill and Kenan Laboratories, CB 3290, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
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  • Rene Lopez

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Phillips Hall, CB 3255, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
    • Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Phillips Hall, CB 3255, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
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Abstract

In this work, it is demonstrated that bimolecular recombination depends on the distance that free carriers are required to travel in transit to the electrodes in bulk heterojunction organic solar cells. By employing semi-transparent devices, the carrier transport distance can be controlled via the local light absorption profile with an appropriate choice of the illumination side and incident wavelength. Using a series of light intensity-dependent measurements, bimolecular recombination is shown to depend on the distance electrons or holes are required to transit the active layer. This effect is demonstrated for three different bulk heterojunction blends, where the restrictive carrier that causes the onset of recombination is identified. The mobility-lifetime products of the limiting carriers are also estimated using a simple model for carrier extraction, where similar values are obtained regardless of the absorption profile. Implications for 1-sun performance are also discussed, which provide guidelines for fabricating devices with thicker active layers capable of maximizing light absorption without succumbing to recombination losses.

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