Fluorine Substituents Reduce Charge Recombination and Drive Structure and Morphology Development in Polymer Solar Cells
2013-02-06T00:00:00Z (GMT) by
Three structurally identical polymers, except for the number of fluorine substitutions (0, 1, or 2) on the repeat unit (BnDT-DTBT), are investigated in detail, to further understand the impact of these fluorine atoms on open circuit voltage (<i>V</i><sub>oc</sub>), short circuit current (<i>J</i><sub>sc</sub>), and fill factor (<i>FF</i>) of related solar cells. While the enhanced <i>V</i><sub>oc</sub> can be ascribed to a lower HOMO level of the polymer by adding more fluorine substituents, the improvement in <i>J</i><sub>sc</sub> and <i>FF</i> are likely due to suppressed charge recombination. While the reduced bimolecular recombination with raising fluorine concentration is confirmed by variable light intensity studies, a plausibly suppressed geminate recombination is implied by the significantly increased change of dipole moment between the ground and excited states (Δμ<sub>ge</sub>) for these polymers as the number of fluorine substituents increases. Moreover, the 2F polymer (PBnDT-DTffBT) exhibits significantly more scattering in the in-plane lamellar stacking and out-of-plane π–π stacking directions, observed with GIWAXS. This indicates that the addition of fluorine leads to a more face-on polymer crystallite orientation with respect to the substrate, which could contribute to the suppressed charge recombination. R-SoXS also reveals that PBnDT-DTffBT has larger and purer polymer/fullerene domains. The higher domain purity is correlated with an observed decrease in PCBM miscibility in polymer, which drops from 21% (PBnDT-DTBT) to 12% (PBnDT-DTffBT). The disclosed “fluorine” impact not only explains the efficiency increase from 4% of PBnDT-DTBT (0F) to 7% with PBnDT-DTffBT (2F) but also suggests fluorine substitution should be generally considered in the future design of new polymers.