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Alkenyl Carboxylic Acid: Engineering the Nanomorphology in Polymer–Polymer Solar Cells as Solvent Additive

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journal contribution
posted on 03.04.2017, 00:00 authored by Yannan Zhang, Jianyu Yuan, Jianxia Sun, Guanqun Ding, Lu Han, Xufeng Ling, Wanli Ma
We have investigated a series of commercially available alkenyl carboxylic acids with different alkenyl chain lengths (trans-2-hexenoic acid (CA-6), trans-2-decenoic acid (CA-10), 9-tetradecenoic acid (CA-14)) for use as solvent additives in polymer–polymer non-fullerene solar cells. We systematically investigated their effect on the film absorption, morphology, carrier generation, transport, and recombination in all-polymer solar cells. We revealed that these additives have a significant impact on the aggregation of polymer acceptor, leading to improved phase segregation in the blend film. This in-depth understanding of the additives effect on the nanomorphology in all-polymer solar cell can help further boost the device performance. By using CA-10 with the optimal alkenyl chain length, we achieved fine phase separation, balanced charge transport, and suppressed recombination in all-polymer solar cells. As a result, an optimal power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 5.71% was demonstrated which is over 50% higher than that of the as-cast device (PCE = 3.71%) and slightly higher than that of devices with DIO treatment (PCE = 5.68%). Compared with widely used DIO, these halogen-free alkenyl carboxylic acids have a more sustainable processing as well as better performance, which may make them more promising candidates for use as processing additives in organic non-fullerene solar cells.