Electrostatic self-assembly conjugated polyelectrolyte-surfactant complex as an interlayer for high performance polymer solar cells

Yi Ming Chang, Rui Zhu, Eric Richard, Chun Chao Chen, Gang Li, Yang Yang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


A simple method is demonstrated to improve the film-forming properties and air stability of a conjugated polyelectrolyte (CPE) without complicated synthesis of new chemical structures. An anionic surfactant, sodium dodecybenzenesulfonate (SDS), is mixed with cationic CPEs. The electrostatic attraction between these two oppositely-charged materials provides the driving force to form a stable CPE-surfactant complex. Compared with a pure CPE, this electrostatic complex is not only compatible with highly hydrophobic bulk-heterojunction (BHJ) films, e.g. poly(3-hexylthiophene):[6,6]-phenyl C 61 butyric acid methyl ester (P3HT:PCBM), but also works well with other low bandgap polymer-based BHJ films. Using this complex as a cathode interface layer, a high power conversion efficiency of 4% can be obtained in P3HT:PCBM solar cells together with improved stability in air. Moreover, ∼20% performance enhancement can also be achieved when the complex is used as an interlayer to replace calcium metal for low bandgap polymer-based BHJ systems. KGaA, Weinheim.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3284-3289
Number of pages6
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • conjugated polyelectrolyte
  • electrostatic self-assembly
  • interlayer
  • polymer solar cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Electrochemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials

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