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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Nano-pathways: Bridging the divide between water-processable nanoparticulate and bulk heterojunction organic photovoltaics

  • Author(s): Holmes, NP;
  • Marks, M;
  • Kumar, P;
  • Kroon, R;
  • Barr, MG;
  • Nicolaidis, N;
  • Feron, K;
  • Pivrikas, A;
  • Fahy, A;
  • Mendaza, ADDZ;
  • Kilcoyne, ALD;
  • Müller, C;
  • Zhou, X;
  • Andersson, MR;
  • Dastoor, PC;
  • Belcher, WJ
  • et al.

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Here we report the application of a conjugated copolymer based on thiophene and quinoxaline units, namely poly[2,3-bis-(3-octyloxyphenyl)quinoxaline-5,8-diyl-alt-thiophene-2,5-diyl] (TQ1), to nanoparticle organic photovoltaics (NP-OPVs). TQ1 exhibits more desirable material properties for NP-OPV fabrication and operation, particularly a high glass transition temperature (Tg) and amorphous nature, compared to the commonly applied semicrystalline polymer poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT). This study reports the optimisation of TQ1:PC71BM (phenyl C71 butyric acid methyl ester) NP-OPV device performance by the application of mild thermal annealing treatments in the range of the Tg (sub-Tg and post-Tg), both in the active layer drying stage and post-cathode deposition annealing stage of device fabrication, and an in-depth study of the effect of these treatments on nanoparticle film morphology. In addition, we report a type of morphological evolution in nanoparticle films for OPV active layers that has not previously been observed, that of PC71BM nano-pathway formation between dispersed PC71BM-rich nanoparticle cores, which have the benefit of making the bulk film more conducive to charge percolation and extraction.

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