Wang, Kai; Azouz, Mehdi; Babics, Maxime; Cruciani, Federico; Marszalek, Tomasz; Saleem, Qasim; Pisula, Wojciech; Beaujuge, Pierre(Chemistry of Materials, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2016-07-22)[Article]
Low-bandgap small molecule (SM) donors that can be solution-processed with fullerene acceptors (e.g. PC61/71BM) are proving particularly promising in bulk-heterojunction (BHJ) solar cells. Compared to their π-conjugated polymer counterparts, SM donors are well defined (monodispersed) and more synthetically modular –with relatively wide ranges of bandgaps achievable in stepwise couplings of various donor and acceptor motifs. However, the optimization of SM-fullerene morphologies and BHJ device efficiencies relies more specifically on the use of processing additives, post-processing thermal or solvent vapor annealing (SVA) approaches, and achieving adequate interpenetrating networks and structural order in BHJ thin films can be challenging. In this report, we examine the correlated effects of molecular structure and post-processing SVA on the BHJ solar cell performance of a set of π-extended SM donors composed of dithieno[3,2-b:2',3'-d]pyrrole (DTP) and 5,6-difluorobenzo[c][1,2,5]thiadiazole ([2F]BT) units. In these systems (SM1-3), the introduction of additional alkyl substituents and unsubstituted thiophene rings on the peripheral unit groups critically impacts the effects of SVA steps on BHJ solar cell efficiency. We show that the more π-extended and alkyl-substituted analogue SM3 stands out –with BHJ device efficiencies of ca. 6% obtained from SVA with CS2– while SVA-treated SM3-based active layers also show the most favorable ordering and carrier mobility patterns. However, unlike numbers of SM donors reported in recent years, DTP–[2F]BT SM analogues are in general not prone to dramatic performance variations in BHJ thin films cast with processing additives. Our results indicate that the role of SVA steps is not independent of the molecular structure of the SM donors used in the BHJ solar cells.
Wang, Kai; Firdaus, Yuliar; Babics, Maxime; Cruciani, Federico; Saleem, Qasim; El Labban, Abdulrahman; Alamoudi, Maha A; Marszalek, Tomasz; Pisula, Wojciech; Laquai, Frédéric; Beaujuge, Pierre(Chemistry of Materials, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2016-03-28)[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.
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