Fulleropyrrolidine interlayers: Tailoring electrodes to raise organic solar cell efficiency

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Science  18 Sep 2014:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1255826

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A major challenge in organic solar cell design is the trade-off between oxidative stability and work function of the metal cathode. Here, we report that solution-based incorporation of fulleropyrrolidines with amine (C60-N) or zwitterionic (C60-SB) substituents as cathode-independent buffer layers surmounts this barrier in single junction polymer solar cells. Specifically, a thin layer of C60-N reduced the effective work function of Ag, Cu, and Au electrodes to 3.65 eV. Power conversion efficiency (PCE) values exceeding 8.5% were obtained for organic photovoltaics independent of the cathode selection (Al, Ag, Cu or Au). Such high efficiencies did not require precise control over interlayer thickness, as devices prepared with C60-N and C60-SB layers ranging from 5 to 55 nm performed with high efficiency.

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