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A Conclusive View on Charge Generation, Recombination, and Extraction in As-Prepared and Annealed P3HT:PCBM Blends: Combined Experimental and Simulation Work



Time-delayed collection field (TDCF) and bias-amplified charge extraction (BACE) are applied to as-prepared and annealed poly(3-hexylthiophene):[6,6]-phenyl C71 butyric acid methyl ester (P3HT:PCBM) blends coated from chloroform. Despite large differences in fill factor, short-circuit current, and power conversion efficiency, both blends exhibit a negligible dependence of photogeneration on the electric field and strictly bimolecular recombination (BMR) with a weak dependence of the BMR coefficient on charge density. Drift-diffusion simulations are performed using the measured coefficients and mobilities, taking into account bimolecular recombination and the possible effects of surface recombination. The excellent agreement between the simulation and the experimental data for an intensity range covering two orders of magnitude indicates that a field-independent generation rate and a density-independent recombination coefficient describe the current–voltage characteristics of the annealed P3HT:PCBM devices, while the performance of the as-prepared blend is shown to be limited by space charge effects due to a low hole mobility. Finally, even though the bimolecular recombination coefficient is small, surface recombination is found to be a negligible loss mechanism in these solar cells.