Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, Vol.176, 336-339, 2018
An efficient and simple tool for assessing singlet oxygen involvement in the photo-oxidation of conjugated materials
Upon exposure to photooxidative conditions, organic materials are susceptible to undergo degradation via processes involving radical oxygen species and/or reaction with singlet oxygen (O-1(2)). In this frame, the work herein presents a new and straightforward methodology to clarify the role of highly-reactive O-1(2) in the photodegradation mechanism of conjugated materials applied in organic electronics. The general methodology consists in the comparison of the infrared signatures of the conjugated materials after the materials are exposed to photooxidative and thermooxidative conditions and in situ generated O-1(2). The methodology was validated by analysing the behaviour of four donor materials commonly used in organic solar cells. Analysis of the degradation mechanism of these materials allowed exemplifying the three possible case scenarios, namely (1) both (1)O(2)and radical oxygen species are involved in the general photooxidation mechanism of the studied material, (2) the material is unreactive towards O-1(2) and thus this species plays no role in the photooxidation process, and (3) the conjugated material is reactive towards chemically produced O-1(2) but this species is not the main responsible for the photooxidative degradation of the material. In the latter two cases, a free-radical oxidation process accounts for the photooxidation of the investigated materials. The results derived from this simple, yet enlightening, methodology provide fundamental understanding about the degradation pathways of conjugated materials, which is a key point to develop not only efficient but also stable organic electronic devices.