Thermal annealing effect on the nanomechanical properties and structure of P3HT:PCBM thin films

P. G. Karagiannidis, S. Kassavetis, C. Pitsalidis, S. Logothetidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nanostructured polymer-fullerene thin films are among the most prominent materials for application in high efficient polymer solar cells. Specifically, poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and fullerene derivatives (PCBM) blends are used as the donor/acceptor materials forming a bulk heterojunction. Although P3HT:PCBM properties have been extensively studied, less light has been set on its nanomechanical properties, which affect the device service life. In this work Atomic Force Acoustic Microscopy (AFAM), Atomic Force Spectroscopy and Nanoindentation were used to study the effect of the fullerene presence and the annealing on the P3HT:PCBM nanomechanical behavior. The P3HT:PCBM thin films were prepared by spin coating on glass substrates and then annealed at 100 °C and 145 °C for 30 min. Large phase separation was identified by optical and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) for the annealed samples. Needle-like PCBM crystals were formed and an increase of the polymer crystallinity degree with the increase of the annealing temperature was confirmed by X-ray diffraction. AFAM characterization revealed the presence of aggregates close to stiff PCBM crystals, possibly consisting of amorphous P3HT material. AFM force-distance curves showed a continuous change in stiffness in the vicinity of the PCBM crystals, due to the PCBM depletion near its crystals, and the AFM indentation provided qualitative results about the changes in P3HT nanomechanical response after annealing.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)4105-4109
Number of pages5
JournalThin Solid Films
Volume519
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2011

Keywords

  • Atomic Force Acoustic Microscopy (AFAM)
  • Atomic Force Spectroscopy
  • Bulk heterojunction
  • Nanoindentation
  • Organic photovoltaics

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