Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Nanoscale structure measurements for polymer-fullerene photovoltaics



Dean M. DeLongchamp, Regis J. Kline, Andrew A. Herzing


This review covers methods to measure key aspects of nanoscale structure in organic photovoltaic devices based on polymer-fullerene bulk heterojunctions. The importance of nanoscale structure to the power conversion efficiency and stability of these devices has been recognized, but robust correlations have yet to emerge despite a significant community-wide research investment. Our perspective is that more uniform selection, execution, and interpretation of nanoscale structure measurements will accelerate this endeavor. We will discuss organic bulk heterojunction structural measurements of contemporary interest and importance including vertical stratification, molecular orientation and order, and nanoscale morphology. Specific recommendations are made regarding the technical implementation of popular techniques, with an eye toward the elimination of artifacts and ambiguous data that could be misconstrued. When possible, topics are highlighted where there is a community consensus on the results of nanoscale structure measurements and how they may relate to organic photovoltaic device performance.
Energy and Environmental Science


photovoltaics, solar cells, organic electronics, flexible electronics, reflectivity, ellipsometry, SIMS, diffraction, TEM


DeLongchamp, D. , Kline, R. and Herzing, A. (2012), Nanoscale structure measurements for polymer-fullerene photovoltaics, Energy and Environmental Science, [online], (Accessed March 2, 2024)
Created February 3, 2012, Updated November 10, 2018