Structure and crystallinity of water dispersible photoactive nanoparticles for organic solar cells
Research output: Contribution to journal › Journal article › Research › peer-review
Water based inks would be a strong advantage for large scale production of organic photovoltaic devices. Formation of water dispersible nanoparticles produced by the Landfester method is a promising route to achieve such inks. We provide new insights into the key ink properties of poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) nanoparticles such as the internal structure and crystallinity of the dispersed nanoparticles and the previously unreported drastic changes that occur when the inks are cast into a film. We observe through transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) that the nanoparticles in dispersion are spherical with the nanodomains of P3HT being partly crystalline. When wet processed and dried into films, the nanoparticles lose their spherical shape and become flattened into oblate shapes with a large aspect ratio. Most particles are observed to have a diameter 13 times of the particle height. After casting into a film, the crystal domains adopt a preferred orientation with the majority of the nanocrystals (68%) with face-on orientation to the substrate. We propose that low substrate surface energy is responsible for particle deformation and texturing.