We have studied TQ1 films, with and without PC70BM, spin-casted from different solvents, by fluorescence spectroscopy and UV/VIS absorption spectroscopy. We used chloroform (CF), chlorobenzene (CB), and odichlorobenzene (o-DCB) as solvents for the coating solutions and 1-chloronaphthalene (CN) as solvent additive. CN addition has been shown to enhance photo-conversion efficiency of these solar cells. Phase-separation causes lateral domain formation in the films and the domain size depends on the solvent . These morphological differences coincide with changes in the spectroscopic patterns of the films.
From a spectroscopic point of view, TQ1 acts as fluorescent probe and PC70BM as quencher. The degree of fluorescence quenching is coupled to the morphology through the distance between TQ1 and PC70BM. Furthermore, if using a bad solvent for PC70BM, morphological regions rich in the fullerene yield emission characteristic for aggregated PC70BM. Clear differences were found, comparing the TQ1:PC70BM blend films casted from different solvents and at different ratios between the donor and acceptor. The morphology also influences the UV/VIS absorption spectra, yielding further information on the composition.
The results show that fluorescence and UV/VIS absorption spectroscopy can be used to detect aggregation in blended films and that these methods extend the morphological information beyond the scale accessible with microscopy.