|Title||Improving the performance of P3HT-fullerene solar cells with side-chain-functionalized poly(thiophene) additives: a new paradigm for polymer design.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2012|
|Authors||Lobez, JM, Andrew, TL, Bulović, V, Swager, TM|
|Keywords||chain functionalized polythiophene additive paradi, polythiophene fullerene solar cell polymer design|
The motivation of this study is to determine if small amounts of designer additives placed at the polymer-fullerene interface in bulk heterojunction (BHJ) solar cells can influence their performance. A series of AB-alternating side-chain-functionalized poly(thiophene) analogues, P1-6, are designed to selectively localize at the interface between regioregular poly(3-hexylthiophene) (rr-P3HT) and PC(n)BM (n = 61, 71). The side chains of every other repeat unit in P1-6 contain various terminal aromatic moieties. BHJ solar cells containing ternary mixtures of rr-P3HT, PC(n)BM, and varying weight ratios of additives P1-6 are fabricated and studied. At low loadings, the presence of P1-6 consistently increases the short circuit current and decreases the series resistance of the corresponding devices, leading to an increase in power conversion efficiency (PCE) compared to reference P3HT/PC(61)BM cells. Higher additive loadings (>5 wt %) lead to detrimental nanoscale phase separation within the active layer blend and produce solar cells with high series resistances and low overall PCEs. Small-perturbation transient open circuit voltage decay measurements reveal that, at 0.25 wt % incorporation, additives P1-6 increase charge carrier lifetimes in P3HT/PC(61)BM solar cells. Pentafluorophenoxy-containing polymer P6 is the most effective side-chain-functionalized additive and yields a 28% increase in PCE when incorporated into a 75 nm thick rr-P3HT/PC(61)BM BHJ at a 0.25 wt % loading. Moreover, devices with 220 nm thick BHJs containing 0.25 wt % P6 display PCE values of up to 5.3% (30% PCE increase over a control device lacking P6). We propose that additives P1-6 selectively localize at the interface between rr-P3HT and PC(n)BM phases and that aromatic moieties at side-chain termini introduce a dipole at the polymer-fullerene interface, which decreases the rate of bimolecular recombination and, therefore, improves charge collection across the active layer.