Probing the Energy Level Alignment and the Correlation with Open-Circuit Voltage in Solution-Processed Polymeric Bulk Heterojunction Photovoltaic Devices

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7283-7290
Journal / PublicationACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Volume8
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2016

Abstract

Energy level alignment at the organic donor and acceptor interface is a key to determine the photovoltaic performance in organic solar cells, but direct probing of such energy alignment is still challenging especially for solution-processed bulk heterojunction (BHJ) thin films. Here we report a systematic investigation on probing the energy level alignment with different approaches in five commonly used polymer:[6,6]-phenyl-C71-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) BHJ systems. We find that by tuning the weight ratio of polymer to PCBM the electronic features from both polymer and PCBM can be obtained by photoemission spectroscopy. Using this approach, we find that some of the BHJ blends simply follow vacuum level alignment, but others show strong energy level shifting as a result of Fermi level pinning. Independently, by measuring the temperature-dependent open-circuit voltage (VOC), we find that the effective energy gap (Eeff), the energy difference between the highest occupied molecular orbital of the polymer donor (EHOMO-D) and lowest unoccupied molecular orbital of the PCBM acceptor (ELUMO-A), obtained by photoemission spectroscopy in all polymer:PCBM blends has an excellent agreement with the extrapolated VOC at 0 K. Consequently, the photovoltage loss of various organic BHJ photovoltaic devices at room temperature is in a range of 0.3-0.6 V. It is believed that the demonstrated direct measurement approach of the energy level alignment in solution-processed organic BHJ will bring deeper insight into the origin of the VOC and the corresponding photovoltage loss mechanism in organic photovoltaic cells.

Research Area(s)

  • bulk heterojunction, energy diagram, photoemission spectroscopy, photovoltage loss, photovoltaics

Citation Format(s)

Probing the Energy Level Alignment and the Correlation with Open-Circuit Voltage in Solution-Processed Polymeric Bulk Heterojunction Photovoltaic Devices. / Yang, Qing-Dan; Li, Ho-Wa; Cheng, Yuanhang; Guan, Zhiqiang; Liu, Taili; Ng, Tsz-Wai; Lee, Chun-Sing; Tsang, Sai-Wing.

In: ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, Vol. 8, No. 11, 30.03.2016, p. 7283-7290.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review