The chemical degradation of the Poly[[4,8-bis[(2-ethylhexyl)oxy]benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b']dithiophene-2,6-diyl][3-fluoro-2-[(2-ethylhexyl)carbonyl]thieno[3,4-b]thiophenediyl]] or ‘ PTB7’ has been studied using X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS). This material system appears to be intrinsically unstable especially when illuminated in air and XPS studies confirm the rapid photo-degradation is related to changes in chemical structure of the polymer. In particular, XPS spectra show an initial reduction in relative C-C intensity, suggests loss of the alkoxy side chains. This is followed by a dramatic increase in the level of oxygen-bonded species, especially C-O at ~286.5 eV and C(=O)O at 289.2 eV, indicative of COOH and OH group formation, and oxidation of S. The XPS results support the view that using processing additives reduces the chemical stability of the polymer and provides insight into strategies to improve molecular design to ensure higher chemical stability.
Kettle, Jeff; Waters, Huw; Ding, Ziqian; Smith, Graham C. (2015-04-20)
Analysis of the degradation routes for PCPDTBT-based solar cells under illumination and in the presence of air have been conducted using a combination of X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Time-Of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) and solar cell device data. After ageing, XPS studies show that PCPDTBT appears as an oxygen-containing polymer, with data indicating that a break-up in the aromatic rings, formation of sulphates at the thiophene ring, chain scission in the polymer backbone and also loss of side chains. XPS studies on active layers blends of PCPDTBT and PCBM also show significant changes in the vertical composition during ageing, with increased enrichment of PCPDTBT observed at the top surface and that the use of a processing additive (ODT) has a negative impact on the morphological stability. TOF-SIMS has been used to study electrode degradation during ageing experiments leads to migration of indium and tin ions into the active layer in non-inverted devices, but is eliminated for inverted devices.
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