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Tuning the electronic band structure of PCBM by electron irradiation

Seung Hwa Yoo, Jong Min Kum and Sung Oh Cho*

Author Affiliations

Department of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon 305-701, South Korea

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:545  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-545

Published: 4 October 2011


Tuning the electronic band structures such as band-edge position and bandgap of organic semiconductors is crucial to maximize the performance of organic photovoltaic devices. We present a simple yet effective electron irradiation approach to tune the band structure of [6, 6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) that is the most widely used organic acceptor material. We have found that the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) level of PCBM up-shifts toward the vacuum energy level, while the highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) level down-shifts when PCBM is electron-irradiated. The shift of the HOMO and the LUMO levels increases as the irradiated electron fluence increases. Accordingly, the band-edge position and the bandgap of PCBM can be controlled by adjusting the electron fluence. Characterization of electron-irradiated PCBM reveals that the variation of the band structure is attributed to the molecular structural change of PCBM by electron irradiation.

tunable band structure; HOMO; LUMO; organic semiconductor; PCBM; electron irradiation