The thickness and morphology of squaraine based OPV’s have been explored by our group and the accuracy of their measurement is the focus of this study. The effect of thickness on these squaraine based devices still suffers from a lack of detail. This lack of understanding about the role of thickness in SQ: PCBM devices, specifically, retards optimization efforts. Before we can deduce how active layer thickness affects performance in OPV SQ: PCBM devices, data need to be generated. The determination of the thickness of the active layer and phase domain size in OPV’s is facilitated by instruments that can measure step heights and phase domains on the nanometer scale. Several candidates for each parameter exist and the selection is often based on access and affordability. In our work, we explored several techniques, chief of which were profilometry and Atomic force microscopy for thickness, and X-ray diffraction to explore morphology. In addition, we explored confocal microscopy as a check on our AFM analysis and explored the use of advanced AFM techniques such as peak force QNM and image J to get an approach to the quantification of the phase domains observed.

Our data show that there is promise for the use of AFM to measure thickness of these layers. In addition, XRD and SAXS, can be a good approach to understanding aggregation order in these blended films.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Photovoltaic power systems--Materials; Organic compounds--Mechanical properties

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Materials Science and Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Chemistry and Materials Science (COS)


Christopher Collison

Advisor/Committee Member

Michael Pierce

Advisor/Committee Member

Casey Miller


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes