Understanding the photodegradation mechanism of photoactive materials is critical for enhancing the long-term stability of organic photovoltaic cells (OPVs). However, definitive photodegradation mechanisms have not been reported yet. Here we report the comprehensive understanding of the photodegradation mechanism of the PTB7-Th polymer film. UV/vis absorption and photoluminescence spectra show that the π-conjugated backbone and the intermolecular π-πinteractions are simultaneously broken under sunlight in air. Raman spectra reveal that the initial photooxidation begins at the thiophene ring in the benzo[1,2-b;3,3-b]dithiophene (BDT) unit, followed by the ring-opening of the thiophene and the break of the π-conjugated system. Infrared spectra indicate that -S-C═O and -COOH groups are formed as a result of the photooxidation. On the basis of these observations, we propose that the thiophene ring in the BDT unit reacts with oxygen to generate the BDT-O2 adduct, which then produces thioester and carboxylic acid. The reaction sites in the BDT unit are consistent with the electrophilic attack positions of oxygen predicted by condensed Fukui functions. Furthermore, the DFT calculated spectrum of the proposed oxidation product agrees well with all the spectroscopic observations. Conclusively, the present work provides an important clue for understanding photodegradation of OPV materials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films