Nanometer-scaled landscape of polymer: fullerene blends mapped with visible s-SNOM

Y.-Rong Lee, C.-C. Huang, W.-Y. Huang, C.-T. Chen, P.-T. Huang and J.-K. Wang

Nanotechnology 33, 16 (2022)
Bulk heterojunction is one key concept leading to breakthrough in organic photovoltaics. The active layer is expectantly formed of distinct morphologies that carry out their respective roles in photovoltaic performance. The morphology-performance relationship however remains stymied, because unequivocal morphology at the nanoscale is not available. We used scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy operating with a visible light source (visible s-SNOM) to disclose the nanomorphology of P3HT:PCBM and pBCN:PCBM blends. Donor and acceptor domain as well as intermixed phase were identified and their intertwined distributions were mapped. We proposed energy landscapes of the BHJ active layer to shed light on the roles played by these morphologies in charge separation, transport and recombination. This study shows that visible s-SNOM is capable of profiling the morphological backdrop pertaining to the operation of high performance organic solar cells.