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A spray deposition process equipped with an optical thickness monitoring system has been developed to fabricate the photoactive layer of solar cells. Film thickness is monitored by a photodiode–LED couple after each deposition cycle. Using optimized conditions, the thickness of the spray deposited photoactive films can be tuned to increase linearly with the number of deposition cycles over a wide range of deposition conditions. After instrument calibration, optimization of the active layer thickness can be accomplished by simply setting the desired absorbance of the film. The simple process outlined here may be used for the rapid optimization of thin film photovoltaic devices. As proof of this, we fabricate a poly(3-hexylthiophene-2,5-diyl) (P3HT) and phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester as well as a P3HT and indene-C60 bis-adduct organic solar cells, which achieve a champion power conversion efficiency of 4.2%.


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