Morphology and material stability in polymer solar cells
Sammanfattning: Polymer solar cells are promising in that they are inexpensive to produce, and due to their mechanical flexibility have the potential for use in applications not possible for more traditional types of solar cells. The performance of polymer solar cells depends strongly on the distribution of electron donor and acceptor material in the active layer. Understanding the connection between morphology and performance as well as how to control the morphology, is therefore of great importance. Furthermore, improving the lifetime of polymer solar cells has become at least as important as improving the efficiency. In this thesis, the relation between morphology and solar cell performance is studied, and the material stability for blend films of the thiophene-quinoxaline copolymer TQ1 and the fullerene derivatives PCBM and PC70BM. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM) are used to investigate the lateral morphology, secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) to measure the vertical morphology and near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy to determine the surface composition. Lateral phase-separated domains are observed whose size is correlated to the solar cell performance, while the observed TQ1 surface enrichment does not affect the performance. Changes to the unoccupied molecular orbitals as a result of illumination in ambient air are observed by NEXAFS spectroscopy for PCBM, but not for TQ1. The NEXAFS spectrum of PCBM in a blend with TQ1 changes more than that of pristine PCBM. Solar cells in which the active layer has been illuminated in air prior to the deposition of the top electrode exhibit greatly reduced electrical performance. The valence band and absorption spectrum of TQ1 is affected by illumination in air, but the effects are not large enough to account for losses in solar cell performance, which are mainly attributed to PCBM degradation at the active layer surface.
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