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X-ray Spectromicroscopy of Polymer/Fullerene Composites: Quantitative Chemical Mapping


  • This work was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, U.K. (SUPERGEN IV) and by the Australian Research Council’s Discovery funding scheme (DP0559417). We acknowledge financial support from the Commonwealth of Australia through the Access to Major Research Facilities Program. The authors thank the ALS for beamtime, Tohru Araki for technical assistance, and Adam Hitchcock and Harald Ade for helpful discussions. The ALS is supported by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231.


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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.