Nature Communications, 2017, vol 8
The performance of organic solar cells is determined by the delicate, meticulously optimized bulk-heterojunction microstructure, which consists of finely mixed and relatively separated donor/acceptor regions. Here we demonstrate an abnormal strong burn-in degradation in highly efficient polymer solar cells caused by spinodal demixing of the donor and acceptor phases, which dramatically reduces charge generation and can be attributed to the inherently low miscibility of both materials. Even though the microstructure can be kinetically tuned for achieving high-performance, the inherently low miscibility of donor and acceptor leads to spontaneous phase separation in the solid state, even at room temperature and in the dark. A theoretical calculation of the molecular parameters and construction of the spinodal phase diagrams highlight molecular incompatibilities between the donor and acceptor as a dominant mechanism for burn-in degradation, which is to date the major short-time loss reducing the performance and stability of organic solar cells., Li et al. study degradation in organic photovoltaics from a morphological perspective. They find that donor and acceptor phases undergo excessive demixing via spinodal decomposition resulting in a reduction of charge generation. Demixing is due to the inherently low miscibility of both materials.