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Energy band alignment in operando inverted structure P3HT:PCBM organic solar cells
Nano Energy 40:454-461 Oct 2017

Chen, Qi; Ye, Fengye; Lai, Junqi; Dai, Pan; Lu, Shulong; Ma, Changqi; Zhao, Yanfei; Xie, Yi; Chen, Liwei

Inverted structure thin-film organic solar cells (OSCs) are becoming increasingly important as they deliver higher power conversion efficiency and demonstrate better long-term stability than conventional devices. However, the energy band alignment and the built-in field across the device, which are crucial in understanding the device operation, is yet to be directly characterized. Here we present a direct visualization of the energy level alignment in operandoinverted structure poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT): [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) OSCs using cross-sectional scanning Kelvin probe microscopy. The raw data of measured energy level alignment appear to be inconsistent with each other, and sometimes can even be contradictory to the device polarity observed in current density-voltage measurements. It is identified to be caused by the tip/cantilever induced convolution effect, which may severely mask abrupt energy level offsets at the thin electrode interlayers. A numerical deconvolution method is devised to quantitatively recover the energy level alignment across the device, and reveals the non-uniform electric field distribution in photoactive layer.

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