NMR study of the nanomorphology in thin films of polymer blends used in organic PV devices: MDMO-PPV/PCBM

R. Mens, P. Adriaensens*, L. Lutsen, A. Swinnen, Sabine Bertho, B. Ruttens, J. D'Haen, Jean V. Manca, T. Cleij, D. Vanderzande, J. Gelan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The disclosure of the nanomorphology of thin films in organic solar cells, prepared from blends of conjugated polymers and pcbm, is of key importance for a better understanding of the occurring photovoltaic (pv) mechanisms. Hereto solid-state nmr relaxometry has been evaluated as a complementary technique to traditional microscopic techniques like atomic force microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. It is demonstrated that proton wide-line solid-state nmr relaxometry is a useful and innovative tool to study the phase morphology of blends used in semi-conducting polymer based pv devices. Attention is focused on the influence of the blend composition and casting conditions on the resulting phase morphology. Two different casting techniques, i.e. Spincoating and doctor blading, were compared. To demonstrate the applicability of nmr relaxometry in this field, mdmo-ppv/pcbm blends where used, since these are known for their significant phase separation behavior in combination with toluene as solvent. In films prepared from blends in toluene with a pcbm content =70 wt %, a fraction of the pcbm is phase separated into crystalline domains, whereas the remaining part remains homogeneously mixed with the mdmo-ppv.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-145
JournalJournal of Polymer Science Part A-Polymer Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • conducting polymers
  • conjugated polymer blends
  • microscopy
  • organic solar cells
  • phase morphology
  • phase separation
  • solid-state NMR
  • thin films


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