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Sommer, M.; Hüttner, S.; Thelakkat, M.: Donor–acceptor block copolymers for photovoltaic applications, Journal of Materials Chemistry, 20, 10788-10797 (2010) -- DOI: 10.1039/C0JM00665C
Extensive research activities in polymer synthesis and device engineering have been devoted to the development of donor–acceptor (D–A) bulk heterojunction solar cells in the last years. In such devices, several photophysical processes occur all of which have to be optimized for efficient operation. First, excitons created upon light absorption need to reach the D/A interface within their exciton diffusion length (10– 20 nm), where they may dissociate into holes and electrons. Subsequent charge transport and finally charge collection at the electrodes can occur, given that co-continous pathways of donor and acceptor domains are provided. Owing to the small exciton diffusion lengths and the required optical absorption length of 100–200 nm, vertically aligned pathways with a high aspect ratio of either phase should percolate through the film. The morphologies resulting from this ideal situation resemble those of vertically oriented microphase separated block copolymer thin films, and hence suggest the importance of D–A block copolymers for organic photovoltaics. Furthermore, the covalent bond between the donor and acceptor blocks is not only desired to improve morphology control, but also to enhance long term stability of the device. The potential of block copolymers with electronic functionality to microphase separate into well-defined microstructures with several tens of nanometers in size thus addresses the morphological requirements mentioned above. This article gives an overview of donor–acceptor block copolymers and summarises recent developments of this field.
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