• conjugated polymers;
  • microstructure;
  • morphology;
  • polymer blends;
  • polymer solar cells;
  • structural characterization


All-polymer solar cells based on blends of the low band gap polymers poly{[4,8-bis[(2-ethylhexyl)oxy]benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b′]dithiophene-2,6-diyl][3-fluoro-2-[(2-ethylhexyl)carbonyl]thieno[3,4-b]thiophenediyl]} (PTB7) and poly{[N,N-9-bis(2-octyldodecyl)-naphthalene-1,4,5,8-bis(dicarboximide)-2,6-diyl]-alt-5,59-(2,29-bithiophene)} (P(NDI2OD-T2)) are demonstrated. The use of the donor polymer PTB7 instead of poly(3-hexylthiophene) results in a higher open-circuit voltage and an overall spectral response better matched to the solar spectrum. A power conversion efficiency of 1.1% is reported with a peak external quantum efficiency of 18% at a wavelength of 680 nm. The microstructure of PTB7:P(NDI2OD-T2) blends is also investigated using a combination of grazing-incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering (GIWAXS), near-edge X-ray fine-structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM). GIWAXS measurements show that PTB7:P(NDI2OD-T2) blends contain P(NDI2OD-T2) crystallites with a (100) thickness of 9.5 nm dispersed in an amorphous PTB7 matrix. STXM measurements indicate a lack of mesoscale phase separation, with AFM and NEXAFS measurements revealing a P(NDI2OD-T2)-rich top surface with fibrillar morphology. These results indicate that the pairing of low band gap polymers as both donor and acceptor polymers in all-polymer solar cells may be an effective strategy for realizing high-efficiency all-polymer solar cells. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys, 2013