Organic photovoltaics (OPV) can lead to a low cost and short energy payback time alternative to existing photovoltaic technologies. However, to fulfill this promise, power conversion efficiencies must be improved and simultaneously the architecture of the devices and their processing steps need to be further simplified. In the most efficient devices to date, the functions of photocurrent generation, and hole/electron collection are achieved in different layers adding complexity to the device fabrication. In this talk, we present a novel approach that yields devices in which all these functions are combined in a single layer.
Specifically, we report on bulk heterojunction devices in which amine-containing polymers are first mixed in the solution together with the donor and acceptor materials that form the active layer. A single-layer coating yields a self-forming bottom electron-collection layer comprised of the amine-containing polymer (e.g. PEIE). Hole-collection is achieved by subsequent immersion of this single layer in a solution of a polyoxometalate (e.g. phosphomolybdic acid (PMA)) leading to an electrically p-doped region formed by the diffusion of the dopant molecules into the bulk. The depth of this doped region can be controlled with values up to tens of nm by varying the immersion time. Devices with a single 500 nm-thick active layer of P3HT:ICBA processed using this method yield power conversion efficiency (PCE) values of 4.8 ± 0.3% at 1 sun and demonstrate a performance level superior to that of benchmark three-layer devices with separate layers of PEIE/P3HT:ICBA/MoOx (4.1 ± 0.4%). Devices remain stable after shelf lifetime experiments carried-out at 60 °C over 280 h.