Electron Acceptors Based on α‑Substituted Perylene Diimide (PDI) for Organic Solar Cells

Perylene diimide (PDI) derivatives functionalized at the ortho-position (αPPID, αPBDT) were synthesized and used as electron acceptors in non-fullerene organic photovoltaic cells. Because of the good planarity and strong π-stacking of ortho-functionalized PDI, the αPPID and αPBDT exhibit a strong tendency to form aggregates, which endow the materials with high electron mobility. The inverted OPVs employing αPDI-based compounds as the acceptors and PBT7-Th as the donor give the highest power conversion efficiency (PCE) values: 4.92% for αPBDT-based devices and 3.61% for αPPID-based devices, which are, respectively, 39% and 4% higher than that of their β-substituted counterparts βPBDT and βPPID. Charge separation studies show more efficient exciton dissociation at interfaces between αPDI-based compounds and PTB7-Th. The results suggest that α-substituted PDI derivatives are more promising electron acceptors for organic photovoltaic (OPV) components than β-isomers.