We demonstrate that organic solar cells can exhibit different morphological and performance stability under thermal stress depending upon the processing technique employed, without compromising initial device efficiency. In particular, we investigate benchmark PCDTBT:PC<inf>60</inf>BM solar cells fabricated by wire bar coating (a technique attractive for commercial manufacture) and the more widely employed, lab scale, technique of spin coating. For this system, wire bar deposition results in superior device stability, with lifetime improvements in excess of 20-fold compared to spun cast devices. Neutron reflectivity reveals that the enhanced PC<inf>60</inf>BM segregation to the top interface in the slower, wire bar, casting process is likely responsible for the hindered PC<inf>60</inf>BM nucleation at tens of nm length scale, characterized by atomic force microscopy (AFM), and thus enhanced morphological stability. Modest light exposure of the active layer (at approximately 10 mW cm<sup>-2</sup>), known to reversibly photo-oligomerize fullerenes and thus impart morphological stability, is found to further improve device stability by a factor of 10. The combined effects of wire bar coating and light processing are highly synergetic, resulting in solar cells which are overall 200 times more stable than devices prepared by spin casting without light processing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Chemistry