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Phys Rev Lett. 2005 May 6;94(17):176806. Epub 2005 May 5.

Bimolecular recombination coefficient as a sensitive testing parameter for low-mobility solar-cell materials.

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  • 1Department of Physics, Abo Akademi University, Porthansgatan 3, 20500 Turku, Finland.


Bimolecular charge carrier recombination has been clarified in bulk-heterojunction solar cells based on a blend of regioregular poly(3-hexylthiophene) and 1-(3-methoxycarbonyl)propyl-1-phenyl-[6,6]-methanofullerene using the time-of-flight method. We show how bimolecular recombination influences the charge carrier transport, how it limits the efficiency of low-mobility solar cells, and how to estimate the bimolecular recombination coefficient. We found that bimolecular recombination in these efficient photovoltaic materials is orders of magnitude slower as compared to Langevin recombination expected for low-mobility materials. This effect is inherent to the nanomorphology of the bicontinuous interpenetrating network creating separate pathways for electrons and holes, and paves the way for the fabrication of bulk-heterojunction solar cells where bimolecular recombination is not the limiting factor.

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