Measuring temperature-dependent miscibility for polymer solar cell blends: an easily accessible optical method reveals complex behavior

Zhengxing Peng, Xuechen Jiao, Long Ye, Sunsun Li, Jeromy James Rech, Wei You, Jianhui Hou, Harald Ade

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28 Citations (Scopus)


In bulk-heterojunction polymer solar cells (PSC), the molecular-level mixing between conjugated polymer donors and small-molecule acceptors plays a crucial role in obtaining a desirable morphology and good device stability. It has been recently shown that the thermodynamic limit of this mixing can be quantified by the liquidus miscibility, the composition of the small-molecule acceptor in amorphous phases in the presence of crystals, and then converted to the Flory-Huggins interaction parameter χ. This conversion maps out the amorphous miscibility. Moreover, the quantitative relations between χ and the fill factor of PSC devices were established recently. However, the commonly used measurement of this liquidus miscibility, scanning transmission X-ray microscopy, is not easily and readily accessible. Here, we delineate a method based on common visible light microscopy and ultraviolet-visible absorption spectroscopy to replace the X-ray measurements. To demonstrate the feasibility of this technique and methodology, a variety of conjugated polymers (PffBT4T-C9C13, PBDT-TS1, PTB7-Th, and PDPP3T) and their miscibility with two kinds of fullerenes (PC71BM, PC61BM) are characterized. The establishment of this methodology will pave the way to a wider use of the liquidus miscibility and the critical miscibility-function relations to optimize the device performance and obtain good stability in PSCs and other devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3943−3951
Number of pages9
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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