Multiscale Molecular Simulation of Solution Processing of SMDPPEH: PCBM Small-Molecule Organic Solar Cells

CK Lee and CW Pao, ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES, 8, 20691-20700 (2016).

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.6b05027

Solution-processed smell-molecule organic solar cells are a promising renewable energy source because of their low prochiction cost, mechanical flexibility,: and light weight relative to their pure inorganic :counterparts. In this work, we developed a coarse;grained (CG) Gay Berne ellipsoid molecular simulation model based on atomistic trajectories from all-atom molecular dynamics simulations of smaller system sizes to systematically study the nanomorphology of the SMDPPEH/PCBM/solvent ternary blend during solution processing, including the blade coating process by applying external shear to the solution. With the significantly reduced overall system degrees of freedom and computational acceleration from GPU, we were able to go well beyond the limitation of conventional all-atom molecular simulations with a system size on the order of hundreds I of nanometers with mesoscale molecular detail. Our simulations indicate that, similar to polymer solar cells, the optimal blending ratio in small-molecule organic solar cells must provide the highest specific interfacial area for efficient exciton dissociation, while retaining balanced hole/electron transport pathway percolation. We also reveal that blade-coating processes have a significant impact on nanomorphology. For given donor/acceptor blending ratios, applying an external shear force can effectively promote donor/acceptor phase segregation and stacking in the SMDPPEH domains. The present study demonstrated the capability of an ellipsoid-based coarse-grained model for studying the nanomorphology evolution of small- molecule organic solar cells during solution processing/blade-coating and provided links between fabrication protocols and device nanomorphologies.

Return to Publications page