Asymptotic solution of a model for bilayer organic diodes and solar cells

Giles Richardson, Colin Please, Jamie Foster, James Kirkpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Organic diodes and solar cells are constructed by placing together two organic semiconducting materials with dissimilar electron affinities and ionization potentials. The electrical behavior of such devices has been successfully modeled numerically using conventional drift diffusion together with recombination (which is usually assumed to be bimolecular) and thermal generation. Here a particular model is considered and the dark current-voltage curve and the spatial structure of the solution across the device is extracted analytically using asymptotic methods. We concentrate on the case of Shockley-Read-Hall recombination but note the extension to other recombination mechanisms. We find that there are three regimes of behavior, dependent on the total current. For small currents - i.e., at reverse bias or moderate forward bias - the structure of the solution is independent of the total current. For large currents - i.e., at strong forward bias - the current varies linearly with the voltage and is primarily controlled by drift of charges in the organic layers. There is then a narrow range of currents where the behavior undergoes a transition between the two regimes. The magnitude of the parameter that quantifies the interfacial recombination rate is critical in determining where the transition occurs. The extension of the theory to organic solar cells generating current under illumination is discussed as is the analogous current-voltage curves derived where the photo current is small. Finally, by comparing the analytic results to real experimental data, we show how the model parameters can be extracted from the shape of current-voltage curves measured in the dark.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1792-1817
JournalSIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics
Issue number6
Early online date15 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Shockley model
  • photovoltaic
  • asymptotic analysis
  • drift diffusion


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