SUBJECT: Ph.D. Dissertation Defense
BY: Yongjin Kim
TIME: Monday, March 11, 2013, 11:00 a.m.
PLACE: MRDC Building, 4211
TITLE: Experimental Investigation of the Interfacial Fracture Toughness in Organic Photovoltaics
COMMITTEE: Dr. Samuel Graham, Chair (ME)
Dr. Suresh K. Sitaraman (ME)
Dr. Ting Zhu (ME)
Dr. Seth Marder (CB)
Dr. Dennis W. Hess (ChBE)


The development of organic photovoltaics (OPVs) has attracted a lot of attention due to their potential to create a low cost flexible solar cell platform. In general, an OPV is comprised of a number of layers of thin films that include the electrodes, active layers and barrier films. Thus, with all of the interfaces within OPV devices, the potential for failure exists in numerous locations if adhesion at the interface between layers is inherently low or if a loss of adhesion due to device aging is encountered. To date, few studies have focused on the basic properties of adhesion in organic photovoltaics and its implications on device reliability. In this dissertation, we investigated the adhesion between interfaces for a model multilayer barrier film (SiNx/PMMA) used to encapsulate OPVs. The barrier films were manufactured using plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) and the interfacial fracture toughness (Gc, J/m2) between the SiNx and PMMA were quantified. The fundamentals of the adhesion at these interfaces and methods to increase the adhesion were investigated. In addition, we investigated the adhesive/cohesive behavior of inverted OPVs with different electrode materials and interface treatments. Inverted OPVs were fabricated incorporating different interface modification techniques to understand their impact on adhesion determined through the interfacial fracture toughness (Gc, J/m2). Overall, the goal of this study is to quantify the adhesion at typical interfaces used in inverted OPVs and barrier films, to understand methods that influence the adhesion, and to determine methods to improve the adhesion for the long term mechanical reliability of OPV devices.