Solar Spaghetti

Max Schrock (Undergraduate Student)
Chemistry and Biochemistry


There’s nothing like an unexpected image such as this to remind you of how hungry you've become after a long day's work. This 2µm image from an atomic force microscope shows a PDINO polymer, a hole transport interlayer, which separates the active layer and the top electrode of an organic solar cell.

This image was gathered while studying the surface morphology and photoconductive properties of a PM6:Y6 active layer in an organic solar cell. Because the PDINO layer blocks the topography of the active layer (visible beneath the polymer net) and alters the photoconductive characteristics of the material blend, both of which were the focus of this study, this specific sample was a fortunate accident and was not meant to be analyzed. However, a 15µm square image showed an interesting large cluster of the polymer and upon a closer look, the fine net-like structure was clearly captured. This micrograph was collected via contact mode on an Asylum MFP-3D atomic force microscope and was modified to reduce vibrational noise on Asylum Research AFM software version 14.