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Photostability of Fullerene and Non-Fullerene Polymer Solar Cells: The Role of the Acceptor

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journal contribution
posted on 31.01.2019, 00:00 by Nutifafa Y. Doumon, Mikhail V. Dryzhov, Félix V. Houard, Vincent M. Le Corre, Azadeh Rahimi Chatri, Panagiotis Christodoulis, L. Jan Anton Koster
Recently, the advent of non-fullerene acceptors (NFAs) made it possible for organic solar cells (OSCs) to break the 10% efficiency barrier hardly attained by fullerene acceptors (FAs). In the past five years alone, more than hundreds of NFAs with applications in organic photovoltaics (OPVs) have been synthesized, enabling a notable current record efficiency of above 15%. Hence, there is a shift in interest toward the use of NFAs in OPVs. However, there has been little work on the stability of these new materials in devices. More importantly, there is very little comparative work on the photostability of FA versus NFA solar cells to ascertain the pros and cons of the two systems. Here, we show the photostability of solar cells based on two workhorse acceptors, in both conventional and inverted structures, namely, ITIC (as NFA) and [70]­PCBM (as FA), blended with either PBDB-T or PTB7-Th polymer. We found that, irrespective of the polymer, the cell structure, or the initial efficiency, the [70]­PCBM devices are more photostable than the ITIC ones. This observation, however, opposes the assumption that NFA solar cells are more photochemically stable. These findings suggest that complementary absorption should not take precedence in the design rules for the synthesis of new molecules and there is still work left to be done to achieve stable and efficient OSCs.