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Nat Commun. 2015 Aug 12;6:7955. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8955.

Flow-enhanced solution printing of all-polymer solar cells.

Author information

1
1] Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA [2] Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, California 94025, USA.
2
Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
3
Advanced Light Source, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Stanford, Berkeley 94720, USA.
4
College of Chemistry, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China.
5
1] Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA [2] School of Chemical Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), Suwon 440-746, Republic of Korea.
6
Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Menlo Park, California 94025, USA.
7
1] Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Menlo Park, California 94025, USA [2] Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden, Dresden University of Technology, 01062 Dresden, Germany.

Abstract

Morphology control of solution coated solar cell materials presents a key challenge limiting their device performance and commercial viability. Here we present a new concept for controlling phase separation during solution printing using an all-polymer bulk heterojunction solar cell as a model system. The key aspect of our method lies in the design of fluid flow using a microstructured printing blade, on the basis of the hypothesis of flow-induced polymer crystallization. Our flow design resulted in a ∼90% increase in the donor thin film crystallinity and reduced microphase separated donor and acceptor domain sizes. The improved morphology enhanced all metrics of solar cell device performance across various printing conditions, specifically leading to higher short-circuit current, fill factor, open circuit voltage and significantly reduced device-to-device variation. We expect our design concept to have broad applications beyond all-polymer solar cells because of its simplicity and versatility.

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