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Issue 1, 2014
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Structure–property relationships of oligothiophene–isoindigo polymers for efficient bulk-heterojunction solar cells

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Abstract

A series of alternating oligothiophene (nT)–isoindigo (I) copolymers (PnTI) were synthesized to investigate the influence of the oligothiophene block length on the photovoltaic (PV) properties of PnTI:PCBM bulk-heterojunction blends. Our study indicates that the number of thiophene rings (n) in the repeating unit alters both polymer crystallinity and polymer–fullerene interfacial energetics, which results in a decreasing open-circuit voltage (Voc) of the solar cells with increasing n. The short-circuit current density (Jsc) of P1TI:PCBM devices is limited by the absence of a significant driving force for electron transfer. Instead, blends based on P5TI and P6TI feature large polymer domains, which limit charge generation and thus Jsc. The best PV performance with a power conversion efficiency of up to 6.9% was achieved with devices based on P3TI, where a combination of a favorable morphology and an optimal interfacial energy level offset ensures efficient exciton separation and charge generation. The structure–property relationship demonstrated in this work would be a valuable guideline for the design of high performance polymers with small energy losses during the charge generation process, allowing for the fabrication of efficient solar cells that combine a minimal loss in Voc with a high Jsc.

Graphical abstract: Structure–property relationships of oligothiophene–isoindigo polymers for efficient bulk-heterojunction solar cells

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Publication details

The article was received on 05 Sep 2013, accepted on 16 Oct 2013 and first published on 17 Oct 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE42989J
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2014,7, 361-369
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    Structure–property relationships of oligothiophene–isoindigo polymers for efficient bulk-heterojunction solar cells

    Z. Ma, W. Sun, S. Himmelberger, K. Vandewal, Z. Tang, J. Bergqvist, A. Salleo, J. W. Andreasen, O. Inganäs, M. R. Andersson, C. Müller, F. Zhang and E. Wang, Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, 7, 361
    DOI: 10.1039/C3EE42989J

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