Modelling Charge Transport for Organic Solar Cells within Marcus Theory
Abstract: With the technological advancement of modern society, electronic devices are getting progressively more integrated in our everyday lives. Their continuouslygrowing presence is generating numerous concerns about costs, efficiency and the environmental impact of the electronic waste. In this context, organic electronics is finding its way through the market, allowing for potentially low-cost, light, flexible, transparent and environmentally friendly electronics. Despite the numerous successes of organic electronics, the functioning of several categories of organic devices still represents a technological challenge, due to problems like low efficiencies and stabilities (degradation over time).Organic devices are composed by one or more organic materials depending on the particular application. The conformation and electronic structure of the organic molecules as well as their supramolecular arrangement in the single phase or at the interface are known to strongly a affect the mobility and/or the efficiency of the device. While there is consensus on the fundamental physics of organic devices, we still lack a detailed comprehensive theory able to fully explain experimental data. In this thesis we focus on trying to expand our knowledge of charge transport in organic materials through theoretical modelling and simulation of organic electronic devices. While the methodology developed is generally valid for any organic device, we will particularly focus on the case represented by organic photovoltaics.The morphology of the system is obtained by molecular dynamics simulations. Marcus theory is used to calculate the hopping rate of the charge carriers and subsequently study the possibility of free charge carriers production in an organic solar cell. The theory is then compared both with Kinetic Monte Carlo simulations and with experiments to identify the main pitfalls of the actual theory and ways to improve it. The Marcus rate between two molecules depends on the molecular orbital energies, the transfer integral between the two molecules and the reorganization energy. The orbital energies and the transfer integrals between two neighbouring molecules are obtained through quantum mechanical calculations in vacuum. Electrostatic effects of the environment are included through atomic charges and atomic polarizabilities, producing a correction both to the orbital energy and to the reorganization energy. We have studied several systems in the single phase (polyphenylene vinylene, C60, PC61BM) and at the interface between two organic materials (anthracene/C60, TQ1/PC71BM).We show how a combination of different methodologies can be used to obtain a realistic ab-initio model of organic devices taking into account environmental effects. This allows us to obtain qualitative agreement with experimental data of mobility in the single phase and to determine whether or not two materials are suitable to be used together in an organic solar cell.
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