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Issue 9, 2016
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A polymer acceptor with an optimal LUMO energy level for all-polymer solar cells

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Abstract

A key parameter for polymer electron acceptors is the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) energy level (ELUMO). For state-of-the-art polymer electron acceptors based on the naphthalene diimide (NDI) unit, their ELUMO are low-lying and cannot be tuned, leading to a low open-circuit voltage (Voc) of the resulting all-polymer solar cells (all-PSCs). We report that polymer electron acceptors based on the double B←N bridged bipyridine (BNBP) unit exhibit tunable ELUMO because of their delocalized LUMOs over polymer backbones. The ELUMO of the copolymer of the BNBP unit and selenophene unit (P-BNBP-Se) is lower by 0.16 eV than that of the copolymer of the BNBP unit and thiophene unit (P-BNBP-T). As a result, the energy levels of P-BNBP-Se match well with the widely-used polymer donor, poly[(ethylhexyl-thiophenyl)-benzodithiophene-(ethylhexyl)-thienothiophene] (PTB7-Th). The electron mobility of P-BNBP-Se (μe = 2.07 × 10−4 cm2 V−1 s−1) is also higher than that of P-BNBP-T (μe = 7.16 × 10−5 cm2 V−1 s−1). While the all-PSC device based on the PTB7-Th:P-BNBP-T blend shows a moderate power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 2.27%, the corresponding device with P-BNBP-Se as the acceptor exhibits a PCE as high as 4.26%. Moreover, owing to the suitable ELUMO of P-BNBP-Se, the all-PSC device of P-BNBP-Se shows a Voc up to 1.03 V, which is higher by 0.22 V than that with the conventional NDI-based polymer acceptor. These results indicate that BNBP-based polymers can give all-PSCs with high PCEs, remarkably high Voc values and small photon energy losses.

Graphical abstract: A polymer acceptor with an optimal LUMO energy level for all-polymer solar cells

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
22 Apr 2016
Accepted
14 Jun 2016
First published
14 Jun 2016

This article is Open Access
All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chem. Sci., 2016,7, 6197-6202
Article type
Edge Article

A polymer acceptor with an optimal LUMO energy level for all-polymer solar cells

Z. Ding, X. Long, C. Dou, J. Liu and L. Wang, Chem. Sci., 2016, 7, 6197
DOI: 10.1039/C6SC01756H

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