Solvent-polarity-induced active layer morphology control in crystalline diketopyrrolopyrrole-based low band gap polymer photovoltaics

Sunzida Ferdous, Feng Liu, Dong Wang, Thomas P. Russell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    28 Citations (Scopus)


    Solvent effects on the morphology of diketopyrrolopyrrole (DPP)-based low band gap polymer (PDPPBT):phenyl-C71-butyric acid methyl ester (PC 71BM) blends are studied systematically using a mixture of a non-aromatic polar primary solvent with high boiling point (b.p.) secondary solvents of increasing polarities. An unfavorable solvent-PC71BM interaction, due to a polarity mismatch, leads to significantly different morphology, also affecting the growth process of polymer crystallites. Non-aromatic polar solvent produces large PC71BM aggregates that increase in size with the addition of non-polar secondary solvents. The size scales of the aggregates decrease markedly when polar solvents are instead used as the secondary solvents. This processing method fundamentally changes the behavior of phase separation, creating a percolated fibrillar type network structure. Moreover, polar secondary solvents with lower vapor pressures reduce the interfibrillar distances that enhance the device performance even more. Power conversion efficiencies (PCE) of 0.03% to 5% are obtained, depending on the solvent system used. Mixed solvent systems of various polarities significantly change the behavior of phase separation process between the diketopyrrolopyrrole (DPP)-based low band gap polymer (PDPPBT) and phenyl-C71-butyric acid methyl ester (PC71BM). Unfavorable interactions between PC71BM and non-polar secondary solvents cause significant reduction in power conversion efficiencies, while reduced interfibrillar distances in blend films cast from polar and low vapor pressure secondary solvents give substantial enhancement in device performance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1300834
    JournalAdvanced Energy Materials
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan


    • active layer morphology
    • additives
    • low band gap organic solar cells
    • mixed solvents
    • solvent polarity

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
    • Materials Science(all)


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