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Improving the Efficiency of Organic Solar Cells upon Addition of Polyvinylpyridine

Rodrigues, R. ; Meira, R. ; Ferreira, Q. ; Charas, A. ; Morgado, J.

Materials Vol. 7, Nº 12, pp. 8189 - 8196, December, 2014.

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Digital Object Identifier: 10.3390/ma7128189

We report on the efficiency improvement of organic solar cells (OPVs) based on the low energy gap polyfluorene derivative, APFO-3, and the soluble C60 fullerene PCBM, upon addition of a residual amount of poly (4-vinylpyridine) (PVP). We find that the addition of 1% by weight of PVP with respect to the APFO-3 content leads to an increase of efficiency from 2.4% to 2.9%. Modifications in the phase separation details of the active layer were investigated as a possible origin of the efficiency increase. At high concentrations of PVP, the blend morphology is radically altered as observed by Atomic Force Microscopy. Although the use of low molecular weight additives is a routine method to improve OPVs efficiency, this report shows that inert polymers, in terms of optical and charge transport properties, may also improve the performance of polymer-based solar cells.