Thin films with tailored microstructures are an emerging class of materials with applications such as battery electrodes, organic electronics, and biosensors. Such thin film devices typically exhibit a multi-phase microstructure that is confined, and show large anisotropy. Current approaches to microstructure design focus on optimizing bulk properties, by tuning features that are statistically averaged over a representative volume. Here, we report a tool for morphogenesis posed as a graph-based optimization problem that evolves microstructures recognizing confinement and anisotropy constraints. We illustrate the approach by designing optimized morphologies for photovoltaic applications, and evolve an initial morphology into an optimized morphology exhibiting substantially improved short circuit current (68% improvement over a conventional bulk-heterojunction morphology). We show optimized morphologies across a range of thicknesses exhibiting self-similar behavior. Results suggest that thicker films (250 nm) can be used to harvest more incident energy. Our graph based morphogenesis is broadly applicable to microstructure-sensitive design of batteries, biosensors and related applications.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/baskar-ganapathysubramanian/66/