To elucidate the details of film morphology/order evolution during spin-coating, solvent and additive effects are systematically investigated for three representative organic solar cell (OSC) active layer materials using combined in situ grazing incidence wide angle x-ray scattering (GIWAXS) and optical reflectance. Two archetypical semiconducting donor (p-type) polymers, P3HT and PTB7, and semiconducting donor small-molecule, p-DTS(FBTTh2)2 are studied using three neat solvents (chloroform, chlorobenzene, 1,2-dichlorobenzene) and four processing additives (1-chloronaphthalene, diphenyl ether, 1,8-diiodooctane, and 1,6-diiodohexane). In situ GIWAXS identifies several trends: 1) for neat solvents, rapid crystallization occurs that risks kinetically locking the material into multiple crystal structures or crystalline orientations; and 2) for solvent + additive processed films, morphology evolution involves sequential transformations on timescales ranging from seconds to hours, with key divergences dependent on additive/semiconductor molecular interactions. When π-planes dominate the additive/semiconductor interactions, both polymers and small molecule films follow similar evolutions, completing in 1–5 min. When side chains dominate the additive/semiconductor interactions, polymer film maturation times are up to 9 h, while initial crystallization times <10 s are observed for small-molecule films. This study offers guiding information on OSC donor intermediate morphologies, evolution timescales, and divergent evolutions that can inform OSC manufacture.
- in situ GIWAXS
- organic solar cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Materials Science(all)