Domingo, Ester; Vandewal, Koen; Fei, Zhuping; Watkins, Scott E.; Scholes, Fiona H.; Bannock, James H; de Mello, John; Richter, Lee J.; DeLongchamp, Dean M.; Amassian, Aram; Heeney, Martin; Salleo, Alberto; Stingelin, Natalie(Journal of the American Chemical Society, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2015-04-16)[Article]
We show that the Charge Transfer (CT) absorption signal in bulk-heterojunction (BHJ) solar cell blends, measured by photothermal deflection spectroscopy (PDS), is directly proportional to the density of molecular donor/acceptor interfaces. Since the optical transitions from ground state to the interfacial CT state are weakly allowed at photon energies below the optical gap of both donor and acceptor, we can exploit the use of this sensitive linear absorption spectroscopy for such quantification. Moreover, we determine the absolute molar extinction coefficient of the CT transition for an archetypical polymer-fullerene interface. The latter is ~100 times lower than the extinction coefficient of the donor chromophore involved, allowing us to experimentally estimate the transition dipole moment (0.3 D) and the electronic coupling between ground state and CT state to be on the order of 30 meV.
Mansour, Ahmed; Dey, Sukumar; Amassian, Aram; Tanielian, Minas H.(ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2015-08-04)[Article]
The unique optical and electrical properties of graphene have triggered great interest in its application as a transparent conducting electrode material and significant effort has been invested in achieving high conductivity while maintaining transparency. Doping of graphene has been a popular route for reducing its sheet resistance, but this has typically come at a significant cost in optical transmission. We demonstrate doping of few layers graphene with bromine as a means of enhancing the conductivity via intercalation without major optical losses. Our results demonstrate the encapsulation of bromine leads to air-stable transparent conducting electrodes with five-fold improvement of sheet resistance reaching at the cost of only 2-3% loss of optical transmission. The remarkably low tradeoff in optical transparency leads to the highest enhancements in the figure of merit reported thus far for FLG. Furthermore, we tune the workfunction by up to 0.3 eV by tuning the bromine content. These results should help pave the way for further development of graphene as a potential substitute to transparent conducting polymers and metal oxides used in optoelectronics, photovoltaics and beyond.
Do, Khanh; Risko, Chad; Anthony, John E; Amassian, Aram; Bredas, Jean-Luc(Chemistry of Materials, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2015-11-05)[Article]
In the quest to improve the performance of organic bulk-heterojunction solar cells, many recent efforts have focused on developing molecular and polymer alternatives to commonly used fullerene acceptors. Here, molecular dynamics simulations are used to investigate polymer-molecule blends comprised of the polymer donor poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) with a series of acceptors based on trialkylsilylethynyl-substituted pentacene. A matrix of nine pentacene derivatives, consisting of systematic chemical variation both in the nature of the alkyl groups and electron-withdrawing moieties appended to the acene, is used to draw connections between the chemical structure of the acene acceptor and the nanoscale properties of the polymer-molecule blend. These connections include polymer and molecular diffusivity, donor-acceptor packing and interfacial (contact) area, and miscibility. The results point to the very significant role that seemingly modest changes in chemical structure play during the formation of polymer-molecule blend morphologies.
Ngongang Ndjawa, Guy Olivier; Graham, Kenneth; Li, Ruipeng; Conron, Sarah M; Erwin, Patrick; Chou, Kang Wei; Burkhard, George; Zhao, Kui; Hoke, Eric T.; Thompson, Mark E; McGehee, Michael D.; Amassian, Aram(Chemistry of Materials, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2015-08-10)[Article]
A critically important question that must be answered to understand how organic solar cells operate and should be improved is how the orientation of the donor and acceptor molecules at the interface influences exciton diffusion, exciton dissociation by electron transfer and recombination. It is exceedingly difficult to probe the orientation in bulk heterojunctions because there are many interfaces and they are arranged with varying angles with respect to the substrate. One of the best ways to study the interface is to make bilayer solar cells with just one donor-acceptor interface. Zinc phthalocyanine is particularly interesting to study because its orientation can be adjusted by using a 2-nm-thick copper iodide seed layer before it is deposited. Previous studies have claimed that solar cells in which fullerene acceptor molecules touch the face of zinc phthalocyanine have more current than ones in which the fullerenes touch the edge of zinc phthalocyanine because of suppressed recombination. We have more thoroughly characterized the system using in situ x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and found that the interfaces are not as sharp as previous studies claimed when formed at room temperature or above. Fullerenes have a much stronger tendency to mix into the face-on films than into the edge-on films. Moreover we show that almost all of the increase in the current with face-on films can be attributed to improved exciton diffusion and to the formation of a spontaneously mixed interface, not suppressed recombination. This work highlights the importance of spontaneous interfacial molecular mixing in organic solar cells, the extent of which depends on molecular orientation of frontier molecules in donor domains.
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