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Electronic Structure of Fullerene Acceptors in Organic Bulk-Heterojunctions: A Combined EPR and DFT Study

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journal contribution
posted on 17.12.2015, 10:58 by Kristy L. Mardis, Jeremy N. Webb, Tarita Holloway, Jens Niklas, Oleg G. Poluektov
Organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices are a promising alternative energy source. Attempts to improve their performance have focused on the optimization of electron-donating polymers, while electron-accepting fullerenes have received less attention. Here, we report an electronic structure study of the widely used soluble fullerene derivatives PC61BM and PC71BM in their singly reduced state, that are generated in the polymer:fullerene blends upon light-induced charge separation. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations characterize the electronic structures of the fullerene radical anions through spin density distributions and magnetic resonance parameters. The good agreement of the calculated magnetic resonance parameters with those determined experimentally by advanced electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) allows the validation of the DFT calculations. Thus, for the first time, the complete set of magnetic resonance parameters including directions of the principal g-tensor axes were determined. For both molecules, no spin density is present on the PCBM side chain, and the axis of the largest g-value lies along the PCBM molecular axis. While the spin density distribution is largely uniform for PC61BM, it is not evenly distributed for PC71BM.