Combined Ultramicrotomy and Atomic Force Microscopy Study of the Structure of a Bulk Heterojunction in Polymer Solar Cells
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A method for visualization via atomic-force microscopy of the internal structure of photoactive layers of polymer solar cells using an ultramicrotome for photoactive layer cutting is proposed and applied. The method creates an opportunity to take advantage of atomic-force microscopy in structural investigations of the bulk of soft samples. Such advantages of atomic-force microscopy include a high contrast and the ability to measure various surface properties at nanometer resolution. Using the proposed method, samples of the photoactive layer of polymer solar cells based on a mixture of PTB7 polythiophene and PC71BM fullerene derivatives are studied. The disclosed details of the bulk structure of this mixture allow us to draw additional conclusions about the effect of morphology on the efficiency of organic solar cells.
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