The influence of additive, namely 1,3,5-trichlorobenzene (TCB), on the morphology and performance of bulk heterojunction (BHJ) organic solar cells was studied based on a 1:2 (w/w) blend of benzothiadiazole/thiophene-based copolymers (PFTBzTT) to [6,6]-phenyl-C61 butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM). The active layers were deposited by spin-coating from solutions using chloroform, with different additive concentrations from 0 to 36 mg/ml. The addition of solvent additive into the polymer solution was able to improve the performance of BHJ solar cells. The maximum power conversion efficiency (%PCE) of 0.85% was obtained for a cell with the TCB concentration of 12 mg/ml after annealing at 180°C for 20 min. From atomic force microscopy (AFM) images, the films processed without TCB appear smoother than those with the TCB additive. A large extent of segregation was also observed in the films processed with a high TCB concentration. The optical images of the thin films suggest that the optimum concentrations of the additive cause the polymer self-organisation, resulting in some aggregation of large PCBM crystals. © 2011 Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering
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