ACS Nano, 2013, 7 (5), pp 4637–4646
Interfaces play a determining role in establishing the degree of carrier selectivity at outer contacts in organic solar cells. Considering that the bulk heterojunction consists of a blend of electron donor and acceptor materials, the specific relative surface coverage at the electrode interfaces has an impact on the carrier selectivity. This work unravels how fullerene surface coverage at cathode contacts lies behind the carrier selectivity of the electrodes. A variety of techniques such as variable-angle spectroscopic ellipsometry and capacitance–voltage measurements have been used to determine the degree of fullerene surface coverage in a set of PCPDTBT-based solar cells processed with different additives. A full screening from highly fullerene-rich to polymer-rich phases attaching the cathode interface has enabled the overall correlation between surface morphology (relative coverage) and device performance (operating parameters). The general validity of the measurements is further discussed in three additional donor/acceptor systems: PCPDTBT, P3HT, PCDTBT, and PTB7 blended with fullerene derivatives. It is demonstrated that a fullerene-rich interface at the cathode is a prerequisite to enhance contact selectivity and consequently power conversion efficiency.