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Beyond Fullerenes: Design of Nonfullerene Acceptors for Efficient Organic Photovoltaics

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journal contribution
posted on 15.10.2014, 00:00 by Haiyan Li, Taeshik Earmme, Guoqiang Ren, Akinori Saeki, Saya Yoshikawa, Nishit M. Murari, Selvam Subramaniyan, Matthew J. Crane, Shu Seki, Samson A. Jenekhe
New electron-acceptor materials are long sought to overcome the small photovoltage, high-cost, poor photochemical stability, and other limitations of fullerene-based organic photovoltaics. However, all known nonfullerene acceptors have so far shown inferior photovoltaic properties compared to fullerene benchmark [6,6]-phenyl-C60-butyric acid methyl ester (PC60BM), and there are as yet no established design principles for realizing improved materials. Herein we report a design strategy that has produced a novel multichromophoric, large size, nonplanar three-dimensional (3D) organic molecule, DBFI-T, whose π-conjugated framework occupies space comparable to an aggregate of 9 [C60]-fullerene molecules. Comparative studies of DBFI-T with its planar monomeric analogue (BFI-P2) and PC60BM in bulk heterojunction (BHJ) solar cells, by using a common thiazolothiazole-dithienosilole copolymer donor (PSEHTT), showed that DBFI-T has superior charge photogeneration and photovoltaic properties; PSEHTT:DBFI-T solar cells combined a high short-circuit current (10.14 mA/cm2) with a high open-circuit voltage (0.86 V) to give a power conversion efficiency of 5.0%. The external quantum efficiency spectrum of PSEHTT:DBFI-T devices had peaks of 60–65% in the 380–620 nm range, demonstrating that both hole transfer from photoexcited DBFI-T to PSEHTT and electron transfer from photoexcited PSEHTT to DBFI-T contribute substantially to charge photogeneration. The superior charge photogeneration and electron-accepting properties of DBFI-T were further confirmed by independent Xenon-flash time-resolved microwave conductivity measurements, which correctly predict the relative magnitudes of the conversion efficiencies of the BHJ solar cells: PSEHTT:DBFI-T > PSEHTT:PC60BM > PSEHTT:BFI-P2. The results demonstrate that the large size, multichromophoric, nonplanar 3D molecular design is a promising approach to more efficient organic photovoltaic materials.

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