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An alcohol-dispersed conducting polymer complex for fully printable organic solar cells with improved stability

Abstract

Efficient and stable organic solar cells via full coating are highly desirable. Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) is a classic conducting polymer complex and widely used for hole collection in fully printable devices. However, PEDOT:PSS is typically dispersed in water and exhibits strong acidity that deteriorates device efficiency and stability. Here we report an alcohol-dispersed formulation (denoted as PEDOT:F) by adopting perfluorinated sulfonic acid ionomers as counterions. The ionomers have a special advantage of having two solubility parameters and can be dispersed in water or alcohols, which enables us to prepare PEDOT:F formulations dispersed in alcohols. The alcohol-dispersed formulation has good wetting properties and low acidity, which avoids the drawbacks of aqueous PEDOT:PSS. Fully printable organic photovoltaics (from bottom electrode to top electrode) based on PEDOT:F were obtained with a power conversion efficiency of 15% and could retain 83% of the initial efficiency under continuous illumination at maximum power point tracking for 1,330 h.

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Fig. 1: Dissolution of polymer counterions in water and ethanol.
Fig. 2: Properties of alcohol-based PEDOT:F formulation versus traditional PEDOT:PSS.
Fig. 3: Universality of alcohol-dispersed PEDOT:F applied in OSCs.
Fig. 4: Performance of fully printable OSCs with PEDOT:F HTL.

Data availability

The datasets analysed and generated during the current study are included in the paper and its Supplementary Information. Source data are provided with this paper.

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Acknowledgements

The work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant numbers 51973074, 51773072 and 61804060) and the special innovation funds of Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics. The authors would also like to thank the Analytical and Testing Center of Huazhong University of Science and Technology for providing the facilities to conduct characterizations.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

Y.J., X.D. and L.S. contributed equally. Y.J. and Y.Z. conceived the idea and supervised the research. Y.J. designed and synthesized the PEDOT:F. Y.J. and X.D. performed the characterization of PEDOT:F. T.L. and F.Q. measured the work function. C.X. measured the external quantum efficiency. P.J. and L.H. performed fabrication and characterization of MoO3-based cells. Y.J., X.D. and L.S. fabricated and tested the fully printed devices. X.L. tested PEDOT:F in OSCs with a conventional configuration. X.Z. studied the effect of surfactants on the device performance. W.M. tested the PEDOT:F in n–i–p perovskite solar cells. Y.Z., N.L. and C.J.B. coordinated this work. Y.J. wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All the authors revised and approved the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yinhua Zhou.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Nature Energy thanks Ergang Wang and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figs. 1–25, Tables 1–9 and References.

Reporting Summary

Supplementary Data 1

Source data of Supplementary Fig. 19.

Supplementary Data 2

Source data of Supplementary Fig. 21.

Source data

Source Data Fig. 2

(Fig. 2c) Source data of absorbance spectra of ZnO films with and without PEDOT:F or PEDOT:PSS coating. d, Statistical source data of work function of PEDOT:F films.

Source Data Fig. 3

(Fig. 3b) Statistical source data of PCE of cells with different active layers. ce, Source data of JV characteristics of cells with PEDOT:F processed from different conditions and statistical source data of PCE of cells with PEDOT:F processed from different conditions.

Source Data Fig. 4

(Fig. 4b) Source data of JV characteristics of fully coated solar cells and statistical source data of PCE of fully coated solar cells. c, Source data of PCE evolution as a function of time under illumination of fully coated solar cells. e, Source data of JV characteristics of fully coated solar modules.

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Jiang, Y., Dong, X., Sun, L. et al. An alcohol-dispersed conducting polymer complex for fully printable organic solar cells with improved stability. Nat Energy 7, 352–359 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-022-00997-9

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