Temperature Dependence of the Diffusion Coefficient of PCBM in Poly(3-hexylthiophene)

TitleTemperature Dependence of the Diffusion Coefficient of PCBM in Poly(3-hexylthiophene)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsN.D. Treat, T.E. Mates, C.J. Hawker, E.J. Kramer, and M.L. Chabinyc
Date PublishedFEB 12
AbstractInterest in new functional small molecule and polymer blends, such as polymer-fullerene bulk heterojunction (BHJ) organic solar cells motivates the development of new methods to measure the diffusion coefficient of molecular species (e.g., PCBM) in polymers. The aim of this study is to systematically improve our understanding of the relevant material and processing parameters needed to control the microstructure of BHJ organic solar cells in order to develop a more complete understanding of how to improve its power conversion efficiency. Here, we fabricate a terraced monolayer-bilayer sample of P3HT and P3HT/PCBM and use this structure to quantify both the volume fraction of miscible PCBM in P3HT and the diffusion coefficient of disordered PCBM in disordered P3HT. Our findings reveal that the diffusion coefficient for disordered PCBM in P3HT is strongly dependent on the annealing temperature (i.e., increasing by 3 orders of magnitude when doubling the annealing temperature) and weakly dependent on the PCBM concentration. The temperature-dependent diffusion coefficients were fit with an Arrhenius relationship to determine an activation energy for the diffusion of disordered PCBM through P3HT. Ultimately, this report demonstrates that the self-assembly of the P3HT:PCBM BHJ solar cell during annealing and cooling is not limited by the diffusion of deuterated PCBM in P3HT with the nanostructure of PCBM being controlled by the relative volume fractions of ordered and disordered P3HT.