In this publication we show that the procedure to synthesize nanocrystals and the post-synthetic nanocrystal ligand sphere treatment have a great influence not only on the immediate performance of hybrid bulk heterojunction solar cells, but also on their thermal, long-term, and air stability. We herein demonstrate this for the particular case of spherical CdSe nanocrystals, post-synthetically treated with a hexanoic acid based treatment. We observe an influence from the duration of this post-synthetic treatment on the nanocrystal ligand sphere size, and also on the solar cell performance. By tuning the post-synthetic treatment to a certain degree, optimal device performance can be achieved. Moreover, we show how to effectively adapt the post-synthetic nanocrystal treatment protocol to different nanocrystal synthesis batches, hence increasing the reproducibility of hybrid nanocrystal:polymer bulk-heterojunction solar cells, which usually suffers due to the fluctuations in nanocrystal quality of different synthesis batches and synthesis procedures.
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