Near room-temperature direct encapsulation of organic photovoltaics by plasma-based deposition techniques

A. Perrotta, C. Fuentes-Hernandez, T.M. Khan, B. Kippelen, M. Creatore, S. Graham

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Plasma-assisted atomic layer deposition (ALD) is used for the deposition of environmental barriers directly onto organic photovoltaic devices (OPVs) at near room temperature (30°C). To study the effect of the ALD process on the organic materials forming the device, the precursor diffusion and intermixing at the interface during the growth of different plasma-assisted ALD inorganic barriers (i.e. Al2O3 and TiO2) onto the organic photoactive layer (P3HT:ICBA) was investigated. Depth profile x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy was used to analyze the composition of the organic/inorganic interface to investigate the infiltration of the plasma-assisted ALD precursors into the photoactive layer as a function of the precursor dimension, the process temperature, and organic layer morphology. The free volume in the photoactive layer accessible to the ALD precursor was characterized by means of ellipsometric porosimetry (EP) and spectroscopic ellipsometry as a function of temperature. The organic layer is shown to exhibit free volume broadening at high temperatures, increasing the infiltration depth of the ALD precursor into the photoactive layer. Furthermore, based on previous investigations, the intrinsic permeation properties of the inorganic layers deposited by plasma-assisted ALD were predicted from the nano-porosity content as measured by EP and found to be in the 10-6 gm-2 d-1 range. Insight from our studies was used to design and fabricate multilayer barriers synthesized at near-room temperature by plasma-assisted ALD in combination with plasma-enhanced CVD onto organic photovoltaic (OPVs) devices. Encapsulated OPVs displayed shelf-lifetimes up to 1400 h at ambient conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number024003
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number2
Early online date2016
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2017


  • direct encapsulation
  • ellipsometric porosimetry
  • moisture permeation barrier
  • OPV
  • plasma-assisted ALD
  • spectroscopic ellipsometry


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