Reducing burn-in voltage loss in polymer solar cells by increasing the polymer crystallinity

Thomas Heumueller, William R. Mateker, I. T. Sachs-Quintana, Koen Vandewal, Jonathan A. Bartelt, Timothy M. Burke, Tayebeh Ameri, Christoph J. Brabec, Michael D. McGehee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


In order to commercialize polymer solar cells, the fast initial performance losses present in many high efficiency materials will have to be managed. This burn-in degradation is caused by light-induced traps and its characteristics depend on which polymer is used. We show that the light-induced traps are in the bulk of the active layer and we find a direct correlation between their presence and the open-circuit voltage loss in devices made with amorphous polymers. Solar cells made with crystalline polymers do not show characteristic open circuit voltage losses, even though light-induced traps are also present in these devices. This indicates that crystalline materials are more resistant against the influence of traps on device performance. Recent work on crystalline materials has shown there is an energetic driving force for charge carriers to leave amorphous, mixed regions of bulk heterojunctions, and charges are dominantly transported in pure, ordered phases. This energetic landscape allows efficient charge generation as well as extraction and also may benefit the stability against light-induced traps. This journal is © the Partner Organisations 2014.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2974-2980
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy & Environmental Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-C1-015-21
Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge Prof. Alberto Salleo and Duc T. Duong for helpful discussions. TH gratefully acknowledges a “DAAD Doktorantenstipedium” and the SFB 953 “Synthetic Carbon Allotropes”. This publication was supported by the Center for Advanced Molecular Photovoltaics (CAMP) (Award no. KUS-C1-015-21), made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). CJB acknowledges funding from the Cluster of Excellence “Engineering of Advanced Materials”, the Bavarian SolTech initiative and the GRK 1896 “in situ microscopy”. JAB acknowledges government support by the Department of Defense (DoD) through the National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG) Program.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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