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Keywords:

  • fullerenes;
  • phase morphology;
  • polymer blends;
  • solar cells;
  • X-ray microscopy
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Blending in: The chemical composition of thin-film polymer/fullerene blends used in low-cost plastic solar cells is imaged on the nanoscale for the first time. Scanning transmission X-ray microscopy is used to find that the “fullerene-rich” phase is virtually pure (see image) while the “polymer-rich” phase is evenly intermixed. This segregation into pure domains provides a loss mechanism as photoexcitations in this phase cannot easily be harvested. PCBM: (6,6)-phenyl-C61-butyric acid.