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Fullerene Nucleating Agents: A Route Towards Thermally Stable Photovoltaic Blends
Article in journal
Camilla Lindqvist, Jonas Bergqvist, Ching-Chiao Feng, Stefan Gustafsson, Olof Backe, Neil D. Treat, Celine Bounioux, Patrik Henriksson, Renee Kroon, Ergang Wang, Anke Sanz-Velasco, Per Magnus Kristiansen, Natalie Stingelin, Eva Olsson, Olle Inganäs, Mats R. Andersson, Christian Muller
Publication Year
Advanced Energy Materials, 2014, (4)9,
Link to Source (DOI)
<p>The bulk-heterojunction nanostructure of non-crystalline polymer: fullerene blends has the tendency to rapidly coarsen when heated above its glass transition temperature, which represents an important degradation mechanism. We demonstrate that fullerene nucleating agents can be used to thermally arrest the nanostructure of photovoltaic blends that comprise a non-crystalline thiophene-quinoxaline copolymer and the widely used fullerene derivative [6,6]-phenyl-C-61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM). To this end, C-60 fullerene is employed to efficiently nucleate PCBM crystallization. Sub-micrometer-sized fullerene crystals are formed when as little as 2 wt% C-60 with respect to PCBM is added to the blend. These reach an average size of only 200 nanometers upon introduction of more than 8 wt% C-60. Solar cells based on C-60-nucleated blends indicate significantly improved thermal stability of the bulk-heterojunction nanostructure even after annealing at an elevated temperature of 130 degrees C, which lies above the glass transition temperature of the blend. Moreover, we find that various other compounds, including C-70 fullerene, single-walled carbon nanotubes, and sodium benzoate, as well as a number of commercial nucleating agents-commonly used to clarify isotactic polypropylene-permit to control crystallization of the fullerene phase.</p>