The effect of thermal treatment on the morphology and charge carrier dynamics in a polythiophene-fullerene bulk heterojunction

T.J. Savenije, J.E. Kroeze, X.N. Yang, J. Loos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

231 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The influence of various thermal treatment steps on the morphology and the photoconductive properties of a non-contacted, 50 nm thick blend (50:50 wt.-%) of [6,6]-phenyl C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) and poly(3-hexyl thiophene) (P3HT) spin-coated from chloroform has been studied using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and the electrodeless time-resolved microwave conductivity technique. After annealing the film for 5 min at 80 ?C, TEM images show the formation of crystalline fibrils of P3HT due to a more ordered packing of the polymer chains. The thermal treatment results in a large increase of the photoconductivity, due to an enhancement of the hole mobility in these crystalline P3HT domains from 0.0056 cm2 V-1 s -1 for the non-annealed sample to 0.044 cm2 V-1 s -1 for the sample annealed at 80 ?C. In contrast, the temporal shape of the photoconductivity, with typical decay half-times, 1/2, of 1 s for the lowest excitation intensities, is unaffected by the temperature treatment. Further annealing of the sample at 130 ?C results in the formation of three different substructures within the heterojunction: a PCBM:P3HT blend with PCBM-rich clusters, a region depleted of PCBM, and large PCBM single crystals. Only a minor increase in the amplitude, but a tenfold rise of the decay time of the photoconductivity, is observed. This is explained by the formation of PCBM-rich clusters and large PCBM single crystals, resulting in an increased diffusional escape probability for mobile charge carriers and hence reduced recombination
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1260-1266
Number of pages7
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Volume15
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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