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Conjugated polymers with polar side chains in bulk heterojunction solar cell devices



Two polymers with polar side chains, namely poly[2,7-(9,9-dioctylfluorene)-alt-5,5-(5',8'-di-2-thienyl-(2',3'-bis(3''-(2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethoxy)phenyl)quinoxaline))] (P1) and poly[2,7-(9,9-bis(2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethyl)fluorene)-alt-5,5-(5',8'-di-2-thienyl-(2',3'-bis(3''-(2-(2-methoxyethoxy)-ethoxy)phenyl)quinoxaline))] (P2), were synthesized for solar cell application. A series of bulk heterojunction solar cells were systematically fabricated and characterized by varying the electron-acceptor materials, processing solvents and thickness of the active layer. The results show that P1, with a higher molecular weight and good film-forming properties, performed better. The best device showed an open circuit voltage of 0.87 V, a short circuit current of 6.81 mA cm−2 and a power conversion efficiency of 2.74% with 1:4 polymer:[6,6]-phenyl-C71-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM[70]) mixture using o-dichlorobenzene (o-DCB) as processing solvent. P2 on the other hand showed a poorer performance with chlorobenzene as processing solvent, but a much improved performance was obtained using o-DCB instead. Thus, an open circuit voltage of 0.80 V, short circuit current of 6.21 mA cm−2 and an overall power conversion efficiency of 2.22% were recorded for a polymer:PCBM[70] mixing ratio of 1:4. This is presumably due to the improvement of the morphology of the active layer using o-DCB as processing solvent. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry