Chemically doped and cross-linked hole-transporting materials as an efficient anode buffer layer for polymer solar cells

Ying Sun, Shang Chieh Chien, Hin Lap Yip, Yong Zhang, Kung Shih Chen, David F. Zeigler, Fang-Chung Chen, Baoping Lin*, Alex K.Y. Jen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


A series of cross-linkable hole-transporting materials (X-HTMs) consisting of indacenodithiophene, bithiophene, and thiophene units bookended by two triarylamine groups have been designed and synthesized to investigate their suitability as new anode buffer layer for bulk heterojunction polymer solar cells (PSCs). These X-HTMs can be thermally cross-linked at temperature between 150 and 180 °C to form robust, solvent-resistant films for subsequent spin-coating of another upper layer. Energy levels of these cross-linked materials were measured by cyclic voltammetry, and the data suggest that these X-HTMs have desirable hole-collecting and electron-blocking abilities to function as an anode buffer layer for PSCs. In addition, by incorporating thiophene or fused ring units into the X-HTM backbone, it effectively improved the hole-carrier motilities. To further improve the conductivity and optical transparency for PSCs, the X-HTM films were p-doped with nitrosonium hexafluoroantimonate (NOSbF6). The doped X-HTM layers showed remarkably enhanced hole-current densities compared to neutral X-HTM under the same electric field bias. The properties of the doped X-HTM film as anode buffer layer has been investigated in PSCs. The resulting devices showed similar performance compared to those made using conducting polymer, poly(3,4-ethylene- dioxylenethiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS), as the anode buffer layer. Moreover, a novel bilayer HTM structure consisting of a doped and a neutral layer was employed to exploit the feasibility of combining high conductivity from the doped X-HTM and good electron-blocking ability from the neutral X-HTM together. Interestingly, PSC devices based on this bilayer structure showed enhanced Voc, Jsc, and FF compared to the devices with only a single-layer doped X-HTM. These results indicate that such X-HTMs are promising alternative materials to PEDOT:PSS as an anode buffer layer for polymer solar cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5006-5015
Number of pages10
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number22
StatePublished - 22 Nov 2011


  • anode buffer layer
  • cross-linking
  • doping
  • Hole-transporting materials
  • polymer solar cells

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