A nanoscale study of charge extraction in organic solar cells: The impact of interfacial molecular configurations

Fu Ching Tang, Fu Chiao Wu, Chia Te Yen, Jay Chang, Wei Yang Chou, Shih Hui Gilbert Chang, Horng Long Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In the optimization of organic solar cells (OSCs), a key problem lies in the maximization of charge carriers from the active layer to the electrodes. Hence, this study focused on the interfacial molecular configurations in efficient OSC charge extraction by theoretical investigations and experiments, including small molecule-based bilayer-heterojunction (sm-BLHJ) and polymer-based bulk-heterojunction (p-BHJ) OSCs. We first examined a well-defined sm-BLHJ model system of OSC composed of p-type pentacene, an n-type perylene derivative, and a nanogroove-structured poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (NS-PEDOT) hole extraction layer. The OSC with NS-PEDOT shows a 230% increment in the short circuit current density compared with that of the conventional planar PEDOT layer. Our theoretical calculations indicated that small variations in the microscopic intermolecular interaction among these interfacial configurations could induce significant differences in charge extraction efficiency. Experimentally, different interfacial configurations were generated between the photo-active layer and the nanostructured charge extraction layer with periodic nanogroove structures. In addition to pentacene, poly(3-hexylthiophene), the most commonly used electron-donor material system in p-BHJ OSCs was also explored in terms of its possible use as a photo-active layer. Local conductive atomic force microscopy was used to measure the nanoscale charge extraction efficiency at different locations within the nanogroove, thus highlighting the importance of interfacial molecular configurations in efficient charge extraction. This study enriches understanding regarding the optimization of the photovoltaic properties of several types of OSCs by conducting appropriate interfacial engineering based on organic/polymer molecular orientations. The ultimate power conversion efficiency beyond at least 15% is highly expected when the best state-of-the-art p-BHJ OSCs are combined with present arguments. This journal is

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-112
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 7

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science


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