Influence of Acceptor Type and Polymer Molecular Weight on the Mechanical Properties of Polymer Solar Cells

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Nonfullerene acceptors (NFAs), that are small-molecule acceptors (SMA) and polymer acceptors (PAs), have been extensively explored, which has yielded significant enhancements in the photovoltaic performance of polymer solar cells (PSCs). The mechanical robustness of the PSCs is of vital and equal importance to ensure long-term stability and enable their use as power-generators in flexible and stretchable electronics. Here, we report a comparative study of the mechanical properties of SMA-based, PA-based, and fullerene-based PSCs. We chose ITIC (SMA), P(NDI2OD-T2) (PA), and PCBM (fullerene) as three representative acceptor materials and blended them with the same polymer donor PTB7-Th. To understand the difference between the mechanical properties of SMA-based and PA-based PSCs, we control the number-average molecular weight (M-n) of P(NDI2OD-T2) from 15 to 163 kg mol(-1) in all-PSCs. The all-PSCs-based high-M-n PAs exhibit significantly higher cohesion energy (4.03 J m(-2)) than SMA-PSCs (1.19 J m(-2)) and PCBM-PSCs (0.29 J m(-2)). Notably, the all-PSCs exhibit a high strain at fracture of 31.1%, which is 9- and 28-fold higher than those of SMA-PSCs and PCBM-PSCs, respectively. The superior mechanical robustness of all-PSCs is attributed to using a PA above the critical molecular weight (M-c), which produces tie molecules and polymer entanglements that dissipate substantial mechanical strain energy with large plastic deformation. This work provides useful design guidelines for photovoltaic active materials in terms of the mechanical properties and highlights the importance of incorporating high-M-n PAs above the M-c for producing PSCs with excellent mechanical robustness and device performance.
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CHEMISTRY OF MATERIALS, v.31, no.21, pp.9057 - 9069

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CBE-Journal Papers(저널논문)ME-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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