The stability of polymer solar cells (PSCs) can be influenced by the introduction of particular moieties on the conjugated polymer side chains. In this study, two series of donor-acceptor copolymers, based on bis(thienyl)dialkoxybenzene donor and benzo[c][1,2,5]thiadiazole (BT) or thiazolo[5,4-d]thiazole (TzTz) acceptor units, were selected toward effective device scalability by roll-coating. The influence of the partial exchange (5% or 10%) of the solubilizing 2-hexyldecyloxy by alternative 2-phenylethoxy groups on efficiency and stability was investigated. With an increasing 2-phenylethoxy ratio, a decrease in solar cell efficiency was observed for the BT-based series, whereas the efficiencies for the devices based on the TzTz polymers remained approximately the same. The photochemical degradation rate for PSCs based on the TzTz polymers decreased with an increasing 2-phenylethoxy ratio. Lifetime studies under constant sun irradiance showed a diminishing initial degradation rate for the BT-based devices upon including the alternative side chains, whereas the (more stable) TzTz-based devices degraded at a faster rate from the start of the experiment upon partly exchanging the side chains. No clear trends in the degradation behavior, linked to the copolymer structural changes, could be established at this point, evidencing the complex interplay of events determining PSCs' lifetime.
Heckler, I. M., Kesters, J., Defour, M., Madsen, M. V., Penxten, H., D’Haen, J., … Bundgaard, E. (2016). The influence of conjugated polymer side chain manipulation on the efficiency and stability of polymer solar cells. Materials, 9(3). https://doi.org/10.3390/ma9030181