Morphology matters: The effect of processing on solar cells

Oct 19, 2011
Morphology matters: The effect of processing on solar cells

The dramatic influence of polymer processing conditions on the performance of polymer solar cells is highlighted by a new paper in the Journal of Polymer Science: Polymer Physics.

The study resolves some of the discrepancies found between from previously published studies and highlights that processing and molecular weight need to be carefully controlled to ensure maximum solar cell performance.

Teams led by Natalie Stingelin from Imperial College, London and Garry Rumbles from the National Renewable Energy Lab in Boulder, Colorado collaborated on the work to study the generation of in neat poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and how it depends on the polymer solid-state microstructure. They are able to control the morphology from stacked, non-entangled chains in low-molecular-weight P3HT through to mixed stacked and amorphous, entangled phases in samples with higher . The researchers find that it is easiest to separate charges when there are both crystalline and amorphous regions.

In previous studies on P3HT, other researchers have found yields of free charges appearing after photoexcitation can vary enormously between 1% and 15%; this work reveals that different polymer microstructures could account for that variation.

Explore further: Experiment shows potential of X-ray laser to study complex, poorly understood materials

More information: Obadiah G. Reid, Jennifer A. Nekuda Malik, Gianluca Latini, Smita Dayal, Nikos Kopidakis, Carlos Silva, Natalie Stingelin, and Garry Rumbles, “The influence of solid-state microstructure on the origin and yield of long-lived photogenerated charge in neat semiconducting polymers”, J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys., 2011, DOI: 10.1002/polb.22379

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

SSRL Aids Development of Plastic Electronics

May 04, 2006

For close to a decade, researchers have been trying to improve the performance of plastic semiconductors to the level of amorphous silicon—the semiconductor used in low-cost electronics such as photovoltaic ...

Looking deeply into polymer solar cells

Sep 13, 2009

Researchers from the Eindhoven University of Technology and the University of Ulm have made the first high-resolution 3D images of the inside of a polymer solar cell. This gives them important new insights ...

New "Molecular Wires" Nanotechnology to Replace Silicon

Aug 23, 2004

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of Florida have uncovered information that may help "molecular wires" replace silicon in micro-electronic circuits and/or co ...

Recommended for you

Chemical biologists find new halogenation enzyme

23 hours ago

Molecules containing carbon-halogen bonds are produced naturally across all kingdoms of life and constitute a large family of natural products with a broad range of biological activities. The presence of halogen substituents ...

Protein secrets of Ebola virus

Sep 15, 2014

The current Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, which has claimed more than 2000 lives, has highlighted the need for a deeper understanding of the molecular biology of the virus that could be critical in ...

Protein courtship revealed through chemist's lens

Sep 15, 2014

Staying clear of diseases requires that the proteins in our cells cooperate with one another. But, it has been a well-guarded secret how tens of thousands of different proteins find the correct dancing partners ...

User comments : 0