Organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices are of great interest due to their promise of providing flexible, lightweight, and inexpensive alternatives to their currently-used inorganic counterparts. However, large-scale implementation of these modules has been hampered due to their relatively low power conversion efficiencies even in the highest-performing devices (PCE ~10%). Because the charge generation, separation, and collection processes in plastic solar cells occur on the nanoscale, the microstructure of the OPV active layer and the organic-metal interfaces are of great import. Here, we synthesize, characterize the nanoscalemorphology of, and implement novel macromolecules into OPV devices.
Specifically, we demonstrate the ability to form well-ordered nanoscaledomains through the use of diblockcopolymers containing a semicrystallinemoiety. Additionally, we present a new series of charge-conducting, transparent macromolecules that can be grafted directly from the surface of a transparent electrode; this leads to improved charge extraction at the anodic contact. As such, we are able to address both the active and charge extraction layers of OPV devices utilizing two emerging classes of functional polymers. And our abilities to design and pattern optoelectronically-active polymers into thin film morphologies with nanoscopicprecision over large areas offers clear pathways for the advanced design of plastic solar cells.
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