While the extremes in organic photovoltaic bulk heterojunction morphology (finely mixed or large pure domains) are easily understood and known to be unfavorable, efficient devices often exhibit a complex multi-length scale, multi-phase morphology. The impact of such multiple length scales and their respective purities and volume fractions on device performance remains unclear. Here, the average spatial composition variations, i.e., volume-average purities, are quantified at multiple size scales to elucidate their effect on charge creation and recombination in a complex, multi-length scale polymer:fullerene system (PBDTTPD:PC71BM). The apparent domain size as observed in TEM is not a causative parameter. Instead, a linear relationship is found between average purity at length scales <50 nm and device fill-factor. Our findings show that a high volume fraction of pure phases at the smallest length scales is required in multi-length scale systems to aid charge creation and diminish recombination in polymer:fullerene solar cells.
- average domain purity
- solar cells