Fast Scanning Calorimetry Techniques for Investigating the Annealing of Polymer:Fullerene Organic Photovoltaics

Fatma Demir, Niko Van Den Brande, Bruno Van Mele, Sabine Bertho, Jean Manca, Guy Van Assche, Dirk Vanderzande

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper


In this study, the isothermal crystallization rates of a poly(3-hexyl thiophene) (P3HT) and [6,6]-phenyl C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) blend of 50 wt% PCBM (1:1) were investigated by means of Rapid Heat Cool Calorimetry (RHC) and Fast-Scanning Differential Chip Calorimetry (FSDCC) .

Since attaining the best performance requires finely dispersed phase morphology, with crystalline P3HT and PCBM structures of 10-nm dimensions, [1-3] optimizing the annealing conditions is vitally important for increasing the efficiency of the solar cell. In order to investigate the nucleation and growth of the crystals formed during the isothermal crystallization, the crystallization during heating or cooling should be avoided [4]. Preventing fast crystallization processes can only succeed using fast-scanning techniques such as RHC and FSDCC.

RHC is a fast-scanning DSC technique developed by TA Instruments [4, 5], having a 10 times smaller furnace heated by infrared light and a sample size of about 50 to 500 µg. The RHC permits to heat at rates of up to 2000 K.min-1 and cool at 750 K.min-1 and 500 K.min-1 down to 60 °C and 0 °C.

FSDCC allows temperature control of the sample and determination of its heat capacity by employing cooling and heating rates from up to 1x106 Ks-1 [6]. Since it is also possible to control the cooling rate, studying the kinetics of extremely fast crystallization and reorganization processes in thin films of semi-crystalline polymers on heating becomes possible.

The rate of crystallization during thermal annealing of 250 µg samples (by RHC) and less than 100 ng samples (by FSDCC) will be investigated and compared.

1. Erb T., Advanced Functional Materials; 15(7):1193-1196, (2005).
2. Ma W. L., Advanced Materials;19(10):1387-1390, (2007).
3. Thompson BC, Angewandte Chemie-International Edition; 47(1):58-77, (2008).
4. Demir F., Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry; 105(3):845-849, (2011).
5. Danley R. L, American Laboratory, 40(1), 9-11, (2008).
6. Minakov A. A., Review of Scientific Instruments; 78(7), (2007).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationESF-Organext-BPG International Scientific Conference
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2011
EventUnknown -
Duration: 25 Oct 2011 → …


Period25/10/11 → …


  • solar cells
  • polymer:Fullerene
  • Fast Scanning Calorimetry Techniques
  • RHC
  • Chip Calorimetry


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