Overcoming Moisture-Induced Degradation in Organic Solar Cells

Wachsmuth J, Distler A, Deribew D, Salvador MF, Brabec C, Egelhaaf HJ (2023)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2023


DOI: 10.1002/adem.202300595


Unencapsulated organic solar cells are prone to severe performance losses in the presence of moisture. Accelerated damp heat (85 °C/85% RH) studies are presented and it is shown that the hygroscopic hole-transporting PEDOT:PSS layer is the origin of device failure in the case of prototypical inverted solar cells. Complementary measurements unveil that under these conditions a decreased PEDOT:PSS work function along with areas of reduced electrical contact between active layer and hole-transport layer are the main factors for device degradation rather than a chemical reaction of water with the active layer. Replacements for PEDOT:PSS are explored and it is found that tungsten oxide (WO3) or phosphomolybdic acid (PMA)—materials that can be processed from benign solvents at room temperature—yields comparable performance as PEDOT:PSS and enhances the resilience of solar cells under damp heat. The stability trend follows the order PEDOT:PSS << WO3 < PMA, with PEDOT:PSS-based devices failing after few minutes, while PMA-based devices remain nearly pristine over several hours. PMA is thus proposed as a robust, solution-processable hole extraction layer that can act as a one to one replacement of PEDOT:PSS to achieve organic solar cells with significantly improved longevity.

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Wachsmuth, J., Distler, A., Deribew, D., Salvador, M.F., Brabec, C., & Egelhaaf, H.-J. (2023). Overcoming Moisture-Induced Degradation in Organic Solar Cells. Advanced Engineering Materials. https://doi.org/10.1002/adem.202300595


Wachsmuth, Josua, et al. "Overcoming Moisture-Induced Degradation in Organic Solar Cells." Advanced Engineering Materials (2023).

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