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Issue 7, 2010
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Carbazole-based polymers for organic photovoltaic devices

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Polymers based upon 2,7-disubstituted carbazole have recently become of great interest as electron-donating materials in organic photovoltaic devices. In this tutorial review the synthesis of such polymers and their relative performances in such devices are surveyed. In particular structure–property relationships are investigated and the potential for the rational design of materials for high efficiency solar cells is discussed. In the case of the 2,7-carbazole homopolymer it has been found that electron acceptors other than fullerenes produce higher energy conversion efficiencies. To get around possible problems with the build-up of charge density at the 3- and 6-positions and to improve the solar light harvesting ability of the polymers by reducing the bandgap, ladder- and step-ladder type 2,7-carbazole polymers have been synthesised. The fully ladderised polymers gave very poor results in devices, but efficiencies of over 1% have been obtained from a step-ladder polymer with a diindenocarbazole monomer unit. Donor–acceptor copolymers containing 2,7-carbazole donors and various electron-accepting comonomer units have been prepared. An efficiency of 6% has been reported from a device using such a copolymer and by suitable choice of the acceptor comonomer, polymers can be designed with potential theoretical power conversion efficiencies of 10%. While such efficiencies remain to be obtained, the results to date certainly suggest that carbazole-based polymers and copolymers are among the most promising materials yet proposed for obtaining high efficiency organic solar cells.

Graphical abstract: Carbazole-based polymers for organic photovoltaic devices

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The article was received on 21 Oct 2009 and first published on 02 Feb 2010

Article type: Tutorial Review
DOI: 10.1039/B915995A
Chem. Soc. Rev., 2010,39, 2399-2410

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    Carbazole-based polymers for organic photovoltaic devices

    J. Li and A. C. Grimsdale, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2010, 39, 2399
    DOI: 10.1039/B915995A

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