Toward Efficient Thick Active PTB7 Photovoltaic Layers Using Diphenyl Ether as a Solvent Additive

Yifan Zheng, Tenghooi Goh, Pu Fan, Wei Shi, Junsheng Yu, André D. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development of thick organic photovoltaics (OPV) could increase absorption in the active layer and ease manufacturing constraints in large-scale solar panel production. However, the efficiencies of most low-bandgap OPVs decrease substantially when the active layers exceed ∼100 nm in thickness (because of low crystallinity and a short exciton diffusion length). Herein, we report the use of solvent additive diphenyl ether (DPE) that facilitates the fabrication of thick (180 nm) active layers and triples the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of conventional thienothiophene-co-benzodithiophene polymer (PTB7)-based OPVs from 1.75 to 6.19%. These results demonstrate a PCE 20% higher than those of conventional (PTB7)-based OPV devices using 1,8-diiodooctane. Morphology studies reveal that DPE promotes the formation of nanofibrillar networks and ordered packing of PTB7 in the active layer that facilitate charge transport over longer distances. We further demonstrate that DPE improves the fill factor and photocurrent collection by enhancing the overall optical absorption, reducing the series resistance, and suppressing bimolecular recombination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15724-15731
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 22 2016


  • diphenyl ether (DPE)
  • low-bandgap polymer
  • organic photovoltaic (OPV)
  • solvent additive
  • thick active layer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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