Theoretical Insight into the Internal Quantum Efficiencies of Polymer/C<sub>60</sub> and Polymer/SWNT Photovoltaic Devices

Journal Of Physical Chemistry C 120, 6336 - 6343 (2016)

Theoretical Insight into the Internal Quantum Efficiencies of Polymer/C60 and Polymer/SWNT Photovoltaic Devices

Livia Noemi Glanzmann, Duncan John Mowbray

The internal quantum efficiency (IQE) of an organic photovoltaic device (OPV) is proportional to the number of free charge carriers generated and their conductivity, per absorbed photon. However, both the IQE and the quantities which determine it, e.g., electron-hole binding, charge separation, electron-hole recombination, and conductivity, can only be inferred indirectly from experiments. Using density functional theory (DFT), we calculate the excited state formation energy, charge transfer, and zero-bias conductance in the singlet ground state and triplet excited state across polymer/fullerene and polymer/single walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) OPV donor/acceptor bulk heterojunctions. Specifically, we compare polythiophene (PT) and poly(3-methylthiophene-2,5-diyl) (P3MT) as donors, and C60 chains with (6,4), (6,5), and (10,5) SWNTs as acceptors. We find the conductivity increases substantially for both the excited triplet relative to the singlet ground state and for PT compared to P3MT, due to the increased charge transfer and the resulting improvement in donor/acceptor level alignment. Similarly, the (6,4) SWNT, with a larger SWNT band gap and greater conductivity than fullerenes, provides the highest conductivities of 5% and 9% of the theoretical maximum for electron and hole carriers, respectively. This work has important implications for both the optimization of polymer/SWNT bulk heterojunctions and the design of new OPV bulk heterojunctions in silico.

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