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Overcoming efficiency and stability limits in water-processing nanoparticular organic photovoltaics by minimizing microstructure defects

Xie, Chen; Heumüller, Thomas; Gruber, Wolfgang; Tang, Xiaofeng; Classen, Andrej; Schuldes, Isabel; Bidwell, Matthew; Späth, Andreas; Fink, Rainer H.; Unruh, Tobias; McCulloch, Iain; Li, Ning; Brabec, Christoph J.

By 12 March 2019 January 24th, 2020 No Comments

Nature Communications, 2018, vol 9, 1, pp. 5335

DOI:10.1038/s41467-018-07807-5

Abstract

There is a strong market driven need for processing organic photovoltaics from eco-friendly solvents. Water-dispersed organic semiconducting nanoparticles (NPs) satisfy these premises convincingly. However, the necessity of surfactants, which are inevitable for stabilizing NPs, is a major obstacle towards realizing competitive power conversion efficiencies for water-processed devices. Here, we report on a concept for minimizing the adverse impact of surfactants on solar cell performance. A poloxamer facilitates the purification of organic semiconducting NPs through stripping excess surfactants from aqueous dispersion. The use of surfactant-stripped NPs based on poly(3-hexylthiophene) / non-fullerene acceptor leads to a device efficiency and stability comparable to the one from devices processed by halogenated solvents. A record efficiency of 7.5% is achieved for NP devices based on a low-band gap polymer system. This elegant approach opens an avenue that future organic photovoltaics processing may be indeed based on non-toxic water-based nanoparticle inks.

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