The effect of the molecular orientation distribution of the first monolayer of donor molecules at the hole-harvesting contact in an organic photovoltaic (OPV) on device efficiency was investigated. Two zinc phthalocyanine (ZnPc) phosphonic acids (PA) deposited on indium tin oxide (ITO) electrodes are compared: ZnPc(PA)4 contains PA linkers in all four quadrants, and ZnPcPA contains a PA linker in one quadrant. ZnPcPA monolayers exhibited a broad distribution of molecular orientations whereas ZnPc(PA)4 adsorption produced a monolayer with a narrower orientation distribution with the molecular plane more parallel to the ITO surface. We used potential-modulated attenuated total reflectance spectroelectrochemistry (PM-ATR) to characterize the charge-transfer kinetics of these films and show that the highest rate constants correspond to ZnPc subpopulations that are oriented more parallel to the ITO surface plane. For ZnPc(PA)4, rate constants exceeded 104 s-1 and are among the highest ever reported for a surface-confined redox couple, which is attributable to both its orientation and the small ZnPc-electrode separation distance. The performance of OPVs with ITO hole-harvesting contacts modified with ZnPc(PA)4 was comparable to that achieved with highly activated bare ITO contacts, whereas for ZnPcPA-modified contacts, the OPV performance was similar to that observed with (hole-blocking) alkyl-PA modifiers. These results demonstrate the synergism between molecular structure, energetics, and dynamics at interfaces in OPVs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films