Wolf, Jannic Sebastian; Babics, Maxime; Wang, Kai; Saleem, Qasim; Liang, Ru-Ze; Hansen, Michael Ryan; Beaujuge, Pierre(Chemistry of Materials, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2016-01-22)[Article]
We report on the synthesis, material properties and BHJ solar cell characteristics of a set of π-conjugated small-molecule (SM) donors composed of benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b′]dithiophene (BDT) and pyrido[3,4-b]pyrazine (PP) units – examining the perspectives of alkyl-substituted PP acceptor motifs in SM designs. In these systems (SM1-4), both the type of side chains derived from the PP motifs and the presence of ring-substituents on BDT critically impact (i) molecular packing, and (ii) thin-film morphologies and charge transport in BHJ solar cells. With the appropriate side-chain pattern, the ring-substituted analogue SM4 stands out: achieving efficiencies of ca. 6.5% with PC71BM, and fine-scale morphologies comparable to those obtained with some of the best-performing polymer donors in BHJ solar cells. 1H-1H DQ-SQ NMR analyses are used to examine the distinct self-assembly pattern of SM4, expected to factor into the development of the BHJ morphology.
Casu, Alberto; Genovese, Alessandro; Manna, Liberato; Longo, Paolo; Buha, Joka; Botton, Gianluigi A.; Lazar, Sorin; Kahaly, M. Upadhyay; Schwingenschlögl, Udo; Prato, Mirko; Li, Hongbo; Ghosh, Sandeep; Palazon, Francisco; De Donato, Francesco; Lentijo Mozo, Sergio; Zuddas, Efisio; Falqui, Andrea(ACS Nano, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2016-01-27)[Article]
Among the different synthesis approaches to colloidal nanocrystals a recently developed toolkit is represented by cation exchange reactions, where the use of template nanocrystals gives access to materials that would be hardly attainable via direct synthesis. Besides, post-synthetic treatments, such as thermally activated solid state reactions, represent a further flourishing route to promote finely controlled cation exchange. Here, we report that, upon in situ heating in a transmission electron microscope, Cu2Se nanocrystals deposited on an amorphous solid substrate undergo partial loss of Cu atoms, which are then engaged in local cation exchange reactions with Cu “acceptors” phases represented by rod- and wire- shaped CdSe nanocrystals. This thermal treatment slowly transforms the initial CdSe nanocrystals into Cu2-xSe nanocrystals, through the complete sublimation of Cd and the partial sublimation of Se atoms. Both Cu “donor” and “acceptor” particles were not always in direct contact with each other, hence the gradual transfer of Cu species from Cu2Se or metallic Cu to CdSe nanocrystals was mediated by the substrate and depended on the distance between the donor and acceptor nanostructures. Differently from what happens in the comparably faster cation exchange reactions performed in liquid solution, this study shows that slow cation exchange reactions can be performed at the solid state, and helps to shed light on the intermediate steps involved in such reactions.
Quan, Li Na; Yuan, Mingjian; Comin, Riccardo; Voznyy, Oleksandr; Beauregard, Eric M.; Hoogland, Sjoerd; Buin, Andrei; Kirmani, Ahmad R.; Zhao, Kui; Amassian, Aram; Kim, Dong Ha; Sargent, Edward H.(Journal of the American Chemical Society, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2016-02-03)[Article]
Metal halide perovskites have rapidly advanced thin film photovoltaic performance; as a result, the materials’ observed instabilities urgently require a solution. Using density functional theory (DFT), we show that a low energy of formation, exacerbated in the presence of humidity, explains the propensity of perovskites to decompose back into their precursors. We find, also using DFT, that intercalation of phenylethylammonium between perovskite layers introduces quantitatively appreciable van der Waals interactions; and these drive an increased formation energy and should therefore improve material stability. Here we report the reduced-dimensionality (quasi-2D) perovskite films that exhibit improved stability while retaining the high performance of conventional three-dimensional perovskites. Continuous tuning of the dimensionality, as assessed using photophysical studies, is achieved by the choice of stoichiometry in materials synthesis. We achieved the first certified hysteresis-free solar power conversion in a planar perovskite solar cell, obtaining a 15.3% certified PCE, and observe greatly improved performance longevity.
Song, Zhaoning; Werner, Jeremie; Shrestha, Niraj; Sahli, Florent; De Wolf, Stefaan; Niesen, Bjorn; Watthage, Suneth C.; Phillips, Adam B.; Ballif, Christophe; Ellingson, Randy J.; Heben, Michael J.(The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2016-11-23)[Article]
Perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells with high power conversion efficiencies have the potential to become a commercially viable photovoltaic option in the near future. However, device design and optimization is challenging because conventional characterization methods do not give clear feedback on the localized chemical and physical factors that limit performance within individual subcells, especially when stability and degradation is a concern. In this study, we use light beam induced current (LBIC) to probe photocurrent collection nonuniformities in the individual subcells of perovskite/silicon tandems. The choices of lasers and light biasing conditions allow efficiency-limiting effects relating to processing defects, optical interference within the individual cells, and the evolution of water-induced device degradation to be spatially resolved. The results reveal several types of microscopic defects and demonstrate that eliminating these and managing the optical properties within the multilayer structures will be important for future optimization of perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells.
Mottram, Alexander D.; Lin, Yen-Hung; Pattanasattayavong, Pichaya; Zhao, Kui; Amassian, Aram; Anthopoulos, Thomas D.(ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2016-02-10)[Article]
Wang, Kai; Firdaus, Yuliar; Babics, Maxime; Cruciani, Federico; Saleem, Qasim; El Labban, Abdulrahman; Alamoudi, Maha; Marszalek, Tomasz; Pisula, Wojciech; Laquai, Frédéric; Beaujuge, Pierre(Chemistry of Materials, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2016-02-25)[Article]
Molecular acceptors are promising alternatives to fullerenes (e.g. PC61/71BM) in the fabrication of high-efficiency bulk-heterojunction (BHJ) solar cells. While solution-processed polymer-fullerene BHJ devices have recently met the 10% efficiency threshold, molecular acceptors have yet to prove comparably efficient with polymer donors. At this point in time, it is important to forge a better understanding of the design parameters that directly impact small-molecule (SM) acceptor performance in BHJ solar cells. In this report, we show that 2-(benzo[c][1,2,5]thiadiazol-4-ylmethylene)malononitrile (BM)-terminated SM acceptors can achieve efficiencies as high as 5.3% in BHJ solar cells with the polymer donor PCE10. Through systematic device optimization and characterization studies, we find that the nonfull-erene analogues (FBM, CBM and CDTBM) all perform comparably well, independent of the molecular structure and electronics of the π-bridge that links the two electron-deficient BM end groups. With estimated electron affinities within range of those of common fullerenes (4.0-4.3 eV), and a wider range of ionization potentials (6.2-5.6 eV), the SM acceptors absorb in the visible spectrum and effectively contribute to the BHJ device photocurrent. BM-substituted SM acceptors are promising alterna-tives to fullerenes in solution-processed BHJ solar cells.
Kurra, Narendra; Jiang, Qiu; Syed, Ahad; Xia, Chuan; Alshareef, Husam N.(ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2016-05-05)[Article]
In this study, we investigate the frequency response of microsupercapacitors based on pseudocapacitive conducting polymer electrodes such as poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT), polypyrrole (PPY) and polyaniline (PANI). It is shown that by proper choice of polymeric material and device structure, mainiturized microsupercapacitors based on electroactive polymers can match the frequency response of commercial bulky electrolytic capacitors. Specifically, we shsow that PEDOT-based microsupercapacitors exhibit phase angle of -80.5º at 120 Hz which is comparable to commercial bulky electrolytic capacitors, but with an order of magnitude higher capacitance density (3 FV/cm3). The trade-off between the areal capacitance (CA) and frequency response in the 2D architecture (CA = 0.3 mF/cm2, phase angle of -80.5º at 120 Hz) is improved by designing 3D thin film architecture (CA = 3 mF/cm2, phase angle of -60º at 120 Hz). Our work demonstrates that fast frequency response can be achieved using electroactive polymer electrodes.
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