Publications associated with Advanced Functional Materials and Devices Group

Diindenoperylene derivatives: A model to investigate the path from molecular structure via morphology to solar cell performance

Organic Electronics: physics, materials, applications 14 (2013) 1704-1714

C Schuenemann, A Petrich, R Schulze, D Wynands, J Meiss, MP Hein, J Jankowski, C Elschner, J Alex, M Hummert, KJ Eichhorn, K Leo, M Riede

Efficient organic electronic devices require a detailed understanding of the relation between molecular structure, thin film growth, and device performance, which is only partially understood at present. Here, we show that small changes in molecular structure of a donor absorber material lead to significant changes in the intermolecular arrangement within organic solar cells. For this purpose, phenyl rings and propyl side chains are fused to the diindenoperylene (DIP) molecule. Grazing incidence X-ray diffraction and variable angle spectroscopic ellipsometry turned out to be a powerful combination to gain detailed information about the thin film growth. Planar and bulk heterojunction solar cells with C60 as acceptor and the DIP derivatives as donor are fabricated to investigate the influence of film morphology on the device performance. Due to its planar structure, DIP is found to be highly crystalline in pristine and DIP:C60 blend films while its derivatives grow liquid-like crystalline. This indicates that the molecular arrangement is strongly disturbed by the steric hindrance induced by the phenyl rings. The high fill factor (FF) of more than 75% in planar heterojunction solar cells of the DIP derivatives indicates excellent charge transport in the pristine liquid-like crystalline absorber layers. However, bulk heterojunctions of these materials surprisingly result in a low FF of only 54% caused by a weak phase separation and thus poor charge carrier percolation paths due to the lower ordered thin film growth. In contrast, crystalline DIP:C60 heterojunctions lead to high FF of up to 65% as the crystalline growth induces better percolation for the charge carriers. However, the major drawback of this crystalline growth mode is the nearly upright standing orientation of the DIP molecules in both pristine and blend films. This arrangement results in low absorption and thus a photocurrent which is significantly lower than in the DIP derivative devices, where the liquid-like crystalline growth leads to a more horizontal molecular alignment. Our results underline the complexity of the molecular structure-device performance relation in organic semiconductor devices. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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