Wadsworth, Andrew; Ashraf, Raja; Abdelsamie, Maged; Pont, Sebastian; Little, Mark S.; Moser, Maximilian; Hamid, Zeinab; Neophytou, Marios; Zhang, Weimin; Amassian, Aram; Durrant, James R.; Baran, Derya; McCulloch, Iain(ACS Energy Letters, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2017-06-01)[Article]
With chlorinated solvents unlikely to be permitted for use in solution-processed organic solar cells in industry, there must be a focus on developing nonchlorinated solvent systems. Here we report high-efficiency devices utilizing a low-bandgap donor polymer (PffBT4T-2DT) and a nonfullerene acceptor (EH-IDTBR) from hydrocarbon solvents and without using additives. When mesitylene was used as the solvent, rather than chlorobenzene, an improved power conversion efficiency (11.1%) was achieved without the need for pre- or post-treatments. Despite altering the processing conditions to environmentally friendly solvents and room-temperature coating, grazing incident X-ray measurements confirmed that active layers processed from hydrocarbon solvents retained the robust nanomorphology obtained with hot-processed chlorinated solvents. The main advantages of hydrocarbon solvent-processed devices, besides the improved efficiencies, were the reproducibility and storage lifetime of devices. Mesitylene devices showed better reproducibility and shelf life up to 4000 h with PCE dropping by only 8% of its initial value.
Zhang, Siyuan; Zhang, Junxiang; Abdelsamie, Maged; Shi, Qinqin; Zhang, Yadong; Parker, Timothy C.; Jucov, Evgheni V.; Timofeeva, Tatiana V.; Amassian, Aram; Bazan, Guillermo C.; Blakey, Simon B.; Barlow, Stephen; Marder, Seth R.(Chemistry of Materials, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2017-09-05)[Article]
Two intermediate-sized donor molecules, BBTz-X and BDT-X, have been synthesized by the Stille coupling between 4-(4,4-bis(2-ethylhexyl)-6-(trimethylstannyl)-4H-silolo[3,2-b:4,5-b′]dithiophen-2-yl)-7-(5′-hexyl-[2,2′-bithiophen]-5-yl)-[1,2,5]thiadiazolo[3,4-c]pyridine and either 4,8-bis(5-(2-ethylhexyl)thiophen-2-yl)-2,6-diiodobenzo[1,2-d:4,5-d′]bis(thiazole) or 2,6-dibromo-4,8-bis(5-(2-ethylhexyl)thiophen-2-yl)benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b′]dithiophene, respectively. Both oxidation and reduction potentials for BBTz-X are anodically shifted relative to those for BDT-X, but the oxidation potential is more sensitive to the identity of the core; this is consistent with what is seen for DFT-calculated HOMO and LUMO energies and with a slightly blue-shifted absorption maximum for BBTz-X. Although DFT calculations, along with crystal structures of related compounds, suggest more planar molecular structures for BBTz-X than for BDT-X, film structures and the effects of various annealing processes on these films, as revealed by GIWAXS, are similar. The performance of BDT-X:PC61BM bulk-heterojunction solar cells is more sensitive to annealing conditions than that of BBTz-X:PC61BM cells, but under appropriate conditions, both yield power conversion efficiencies of >7%.
Kirmani, Ahmad R.; Garcia de Arquer, F. Pelayo; Fan, James Z.; Khan, Jafar Iqbal; Walters, Grant; Hoogland, Sjoerd; Wehbe, Nimer; Said, Marcel M.; Barlow, Stephen; Laquai, Frédéric; Marder, Seth R.; Sargent, Edward H.; Amassian, Aram(ACS Energy Letters, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2017-07-31)[Article]
Employment of thin perovskite shells and metal halides as surface-passivants for colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) have been important, recent developments in CQD optoelectronics. These have opened the route to single-step deposited high-performing CQD solar cells. These promising architectures employ a QD hole-transporting layer (HTL) whose intrinsically shallow Fermi level (EF) restricts band-bending at maximum power-point during solar cell operation limiting charge collection. Here, we demonstrate a generalized approach to effectively balance band-edge energy levels of the main CQD absorber and charge-transport layer for these high-performance solar cells. Briefly soaking the QD HTL in a solution of the metal-organic p-dopant, molybdenum tris(1-(trifluoroacetyl)-2-(trifluoromethyl)ethane-1,2-dithiolene), effectively deepens its Fermi level, resulting in enhanced band bending at the HTL:absorber junction. This blocks the back-flow of photo-generated electrons, leading to enhanced photocurrent and fill factor compared to undoped devices. We demonstrate 9.0% perovskite-shelled and 9.5% metal-halide-passivated CQD solar cells, both achieving ca. 10% relative enhancements over undoped baselines.
Ugur, Esma; Sheikh, Arif D.; Munir, Rahim; Khan, Jafar Iqbal; Barrit, Dounya; Amassian, Aram; Laquai, Frédéric(ACS Energy Letters, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2017-07-31)[Article]
Planar perovskite solar cells can be prepared without high temperature processing steps typically associated with mesoporous device architectures; however, their efficiency has been lower and producing high quality perovskite films in planar devices has been challenging. Here, we report a modified two-step interdiffusion protocol suitable to prepare pin-hole free perovskite films with greatly improved morphology. This is achieved by simple addition of small amounts of glycol ethers to the preparation protocol. We unravel the impact the glycol ethers have on the perovskite film formation using in-situ UV-Vis absorbance and GIWAXS experiments. From these experiments we conclude: addition of glycol ethers changes the lead iodide to perovskite conversion dynamics and enhances the conversion efficiency, resulting in more compact polycrystalline films, and it creates micrometer-sized perovskite crystals vertically-aligned across the photoactive layer. Consequently, the average photovoltaic performance increases from 13.5% to 15.9% and reproduciability is enhanced, specifically when 2-methoxyethanol is used as additive.
Sheikh, Arif D.; Munir, Rahim; Haque, Mohammed; Bera, Ashok; Hu, Weijin; Shaikh, Parvez Abdul Ajij; Amassian, Aram; Wu, Tao(ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2017-09-18)[Article]
In this work, we investigated the effects of high operating temperature and thermal cycling on the photovoltaic performance of perovskite solar cells (PSCs) with a typical mesostructured (m)-TiO2-CH3NH3PbI3-xClx-spiro-OMeTAD architecture. After carrying out temperature-dependent grazing incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering (GIWAXS), in-situ X-ray diffraction (XRD) and optical absorption experiments, thermal durability of PSCs was tested by subjecting the devices to repetitive heating to 70 °C and cooling to room temperature (20 °C). An unexpected regenerative effect was observed after the first thermal cycle; the average power conversion efficiency (PCE) increased by approximately 10 % in reference to the as-prepared device. This increase of PCE was attributed to the heating-induced improvement of crystallinity and p-doping in the hole-transporter, Spiro-OMeTAD, which promotes the efficient extraction of photo-generated carriers. However, further thermal cycles produced a detrimental effect on the photovoltaic performance of PSCs with short-circuit current and fill factor degrading faster than the open-circuit voltage. Similarly, the photovoltaic performance of PSCs degraded at high operation temperatures; both short-circuit current and open-circuit voltage decreased with increasing temperature, but the temperature-dependent trend of fill factor was opposite. Our impedance spectroscopy analysis revealed a monotonous increase of charge transfer resistance and a concurrent decrease of charge recombination resistance with increasing temperature, indicating high recombination of charge carriers. Our results revealed that both thermal cycling and high temperatures produce irreversible detrimental effects on the PSC performance due to the deteriorated interfacial photo-carrier extraction. The present findings suggest that development of robust charge transporters and proper interface engineering are critical for the deployment of perovskite photovoltaics in harsh thermal environments.
Hynynen, Jonna; Kiefer, David; Yu, Liyang; Kroon, Renee; Munir, Rahim; Amassian, Aram; Kemerink, Martijn; Müller, Christian(Macromolecules, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2017-10-11)[Article]
Molecular p-doping of the conjugated polymer poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) with 2,3,5,6-tetrafluoro-7,7,8,8-tetracyanoquinodimethane (F4TCNQ) is a widely studied model system. Underlying structure–property relationships are poorly understood because processing and doping are often carried out simultaneously. Here, we exploit doping from the vapor phase, which allows us to disentangle the influence of processing and doping. Through this approach, we are able to establish how the electrical conductivity varies with regard to a series of predefined structural parameters. We demonstrate that improving the degree of solid-state order, which we control through the choice of processing solvent and regioregularity, strongly increases the electrical conductivity. As a result, we achieve a value of up to 12.7 S cm–1 for P3HT:F4TCNQ. We determine the F4TCNQ anion concentration and find that the number of (bound + mobile) charge carriers of about 10–4 mol cm–3 is not influenced by the degree of solid-state order. Thus, the observed increase in electrical conductivity by almost 2 orders of magnitude can be attributed to an increase in charge-carrier mobility to more than 10–1 cm2 V–1 s–1. Surprisingly, in contrast to charge transport in undoped P3HT, we find that the molecular weight of the polymer does not strongly influence the electrical conductivity, which highlights the need for studies that elucidate structure–property relationships of strongly doped conjugated polymers.
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.
Banavoth, Murali; Dey, Sukumar; Abdelhady, Ahmed L.; Peng, Wei; Alarousu, Erkki; Kirmani, Ahmad R.; Cho, Nam Chul; Sarmah, Smritakshi P.; Parida, Manas R.; Saidaminov, Makhsud I.; Zhumekenov, Ayan A.; Sun, Jingya; Alias, Mohd Sharizal; Yengel, Emre; Ooi, Boon S.; Amassian, Aram; Bakr, Osman; Mohammed, Omar F.(ACS Energy Letters, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2016-11-09)[Article]
Hybrid perovskite crystals have emerged as an important class of semiconductors because of their remarkable performance in optoelectronics devices. The interface structure and chemistry of these crystals are key determinants of the device's performance. Unfortunately, little is known about the intrinsic properties of the surfaces of perovskite materials because extrinsic effects, such as complex microstructures, processing conditions, and hydration under ambient conditions, are thought to cause resistive losses and high leakage current in solar cells. We reveal the intrinsic structural and optoelectronic properties of both pristinely cleaved and aged surfaces of single crystals. We identify surface restructuring on the aged surfaces (visualized on the atomic-scale by scanning tunneling microscopy) that lead to compositional and optical bandgap changes as well as degradation of carrier dynamics, photocurrent, and solar cell device performance. The insights reported herein clarify the key variables involved in the performance of perovskite-based solar cells and fabrication of high-quality surface single crystals, thus paving the way toward their future exploitation in highly efficient solar cells.
Zhong, Yufei; Munir, Rahim; Albalawi, Ahmed; Sheikh, Arif D.; Yu, Liyang; Tang, Ming-Chun; Hu, Hanlin; Laquai, Frédéric; Amassian, Aram(ACS Energy Letters, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2016-10-27)[Article]
Electron-transporting layers in today's stateof-the-art n-i-p organohalide perovskite solar cells are almost exclusively made of metal oxides. Here, we demonstrate a novel mesostructured fullerene-based electron-transporting material (ETM) that is crystalline, hydrophobic, and cross-linked, rendering it solvent-and heat resistant for subsequent perovskite solar cell fabrication The fullerene ETM is shown to enhance the structural and electronic properties of the CH3NH3PbI3 layer grown atop, reducing its Urbach energy from similar to 26 to 21 meV, while also increasing crystallite size and improving texture. The resulting mesostructured n-i-p solar cells achieve reduced recombination, improved device-to-device variation, reduced hysteresis, and a power conversion efficiency above 15%, surpassing the performance of similar devices prepared using mesoporous TiO2 and well above the performance of planar heterojunction devices on amorphous or crystalline [6,6]-phenyl-C-61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM). This work is the first demonstration of a viable, hydrophobic, and high-performance mesostructured electron-accepting contact to work effectively in n-i-p perovskite solar cells.
Nielsen, Christian B.; Giovannitti, Alexander; Sbircea, Dan-Tiberiu; Bandiello, Enrico; Niazi, Muhammad Rizwan; Hanifi, David A.; Sessolo, Michele; Amassian, Aram; Malliaras, George G.; Rivnay, Jonathan; McCulloch, Iain(Journal of the American Chemical Society, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2016-08-08)[Article]
The organic electrochemical transistor (OECT), capable of transducing small ionic fluxes into electronic signals in an aqueous envi-ronment, is an ideal device to utilize in bioelectronic applications. Currently, most OECTs are fabricated with commercially availa-ble conducting poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT)-based suspensions and are therefore operated in depletion mode. Here, we present a series of semiconducting polymers designed to elucidate important structure-property guidelines required for accumulation mode OECT operation. We discuss key aspects relating to OECT performance such as ion and hole transport, elec-trochromic properties, operational voltage and stability. The demonstration of our molecular design strategy is the fabrication of accumulation mode OECTs that clearly outperform state-of-the-art PEDOT based devices, and show stability under aqueous oper-ation without the need for formulation additives and cross-linkers.
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