Composition-Morphology Correlation in PTB7-Th/PC 71 BM Blend Films for Organic Solar Cells

Lin Song, Weijia Wang, Edoardo Barabino, Dan Yang, Volker Körstgens, Peng Zhang, Stephan V. Roth, Peter Müller-Buschbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


From a morphological perspective, the understanding of the influence of the [6,6]-phenyl C 71 -butyric acid methyl ester (PC 71 BM) content on the morphology of the active layer is not complete in organic solar cells (OSCs) with bulk heterojunction (BHJ) configuration based on the low-bandgap polymer poly[4,8-bis(5-(2-ethylhexyl)thiophen-2-yl)benzo[1,2-b;4,5-b′]dithiophene-2,6-diyl-alt-(4-(2-ethylhexyl)-3-fluorothieno[3,4-b]thiophene-)-2-carboxylate-2-6-diyl] (PTB7-Th). In this work, we obtain the highest power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 10.5% for BHJ organic solar cells (OSCs) with a PTB7-Th/PC 71 BM weight ratio of 1:1.5. To understand the differences in PCEs caused by the PC 71 BM content, we investigate the morphology of PTB7-Th/PC 71 BM blend films in detail by determining the domain sizes, the polymer crystal structure, optical properties, and vertical composition as a function of the PC 71 BM concentration. The surface morphology is examined with atomic force microscopy, and the inner film morphology is probed with grazing incidence small-angle X-ray scattering. The PTB7-Th crystal structure is characterized with grazing incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering and UV/vis spectroscopy. X-ray reflectivity is employed to yield information about the film vertical composition. The results show that in PTB7-Th/PC 71 BM blend films, the increase of PC 71 BM content leads to an enhanced microphase separation and a decreased polymer crystallinity. Moreover, a high PC 71 BM concentration is found to decrease the polymer domain sizes and crystal sizes and to promote polymer conjugation length and formation of fullerene-rich and/or polymer-rich layers. The differences in photovoltaic performance are well explained by these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3125-3135
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number3
StatePublished - 23 Jan 2019


  • PTB7-Th/PC BM
  • blend ratio
  • morphology
  • organic photovoltaics
  • polymer crystallization


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