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Title: Visualizing charge separation in bulk heterojunction organic solar cells
Authors: Amarasinghe Vithanage, D 
Devižis, A 
Abramavičius, V 
Infahsaeng, Y 
Abramavičius, D 
MacKenzie, R C I 
Keivanidis, Panagiotis E. 
Yartsev, A 
Hertel, D 
Nelson, J. 
Sundström, V 
Gulbinas, V 
Major Field of Science: Engineering and Technology
Field Category: Electrical Engineering - Electronic Engineering - Information Engineering
Keywords: Solar cells;Conjugated polymer
Issue Date: 15-Aug-2013
Source: Nature Communications, 2013, vol. 4
Volume: 4
Journal: Nature Communications 
Abstract: Solar cells based on conjugated polymer and fullerene blends have been developed as a low-cost alternative to silicon. For efficient solar cells, electron-hole pairs must separate into free mobile charges that can be extracted in high yield. We still lack good understanding of how, why and when carriers separate against the Coulomb attraction. Here we visualize the charge separation process in bulk heterojunction solar cells by directly measuring charge carrier drift in a polymer:fullerene blend with ultrafast time resolution. We show that initially only closely separated (<1 nm) charge pairs are created and they separate by several nanometres during the first several picoseconds. Charge pairs overcome Coulomb attraction and form free carriers on a subnanosecond time scale. Numerical simulations complementing the experimental data show that fast three-dimensional charge diffusion within an energetically disordered medium, increasing the entropy of the system, is sufficient to drive the charge separation process.
ISSN: 2041-1723
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3334
Rights: © Macmillan
Type: Article
Affiliation : Lund University 
Center for Physical Sciences and Technology 
Vilnius University 
Jilin University 
University of Freiburg 
University of Nottingham 
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia 
University of Cologne 
Imperial College London 
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