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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 478296, 6 pages
Research Article

Challenges Found When Patterning Semiconducting Polymers with Electric Fields for Organic Solar Cell Applications

1Materials Division, National Physical Laboratory, Hampton Road, Teddington TW11 0LW, UK
2Laboratory for Functional Polymers, Swiss Federal Institute for Materials Science and Technology, Empa, Ueberlandstrasse 129, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland

Received 26 January 2012; Accepted 11 April 2012

Academic Editor: Mauro Coelho dos Santos

Copyright © 2012 Fernando A. de Castro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A material-independent, contactless structuring method of semiconducting organic materials for the fabrication of interface-enhanced bilayer solar cells is not available so far. Patterning of thin films using electrohydrodynamic instabilities possesses many desired characteristics and has convincingly been used as a simple method to structure and replicate patterns of nonconducting polymers on submicrometer length scales. However, the applicability of this technique to a wider range of materials has not been demonstrated yet. Here, we report attempts to structure poly(p-phenylene vinylene) in a similar way. We found that thin films of poly(2-methoxy-5-(2-ethylhexyl-oxy)-1,4-phenylene-vinylene) (MEH-PPV) and poly(2-methoxy-5-(3,7-dimethyloctyloxy)-1,4-phenylene-vinylene) (MDMO-PPV) could not be destabilized at all in the limited accessible range of the experimental parameters set by the delicate chemical nature of these materials. We discuss failure origins and present possible loopholes for the patterning of semiconducting polymers using electric fields.