On the homocoupling of trialkylstannyl monomers in the synthesis of diketopyrrolopyrrole polymers and its effect on the performance of polymer-fullerene photovoltaic cells
Homocoupling of monomers in a palladium-catalyzed copolymerization of donor–acceptor polymers affects the perfect alternating structure and may deteriorate the performance of such materials in solar cells. Here we investigate the effect of homocoupling bis(trialkylstannyl)-thiophene and -bithiophene monomers in two low band gap poly(diketopyrrolopyrrole-alt-oligothiophene) polymers by deliberately introducing extended oligothiophene defects in a controlled fashion. We find that extension of the oligothiophene by one or two thiophenes and creating defects up to at least 10% does not significantly affect the opto-electronic properties of the polymers or their photovoltaic performance as electron donor in solar cells in combination with [6,6]-phenyl C71 butytic acid methyl ester as acceptor. By using model reactions, we further demonstrate that for the optimized synthetic protocol and palladium-catalyst system the naturally occurring defect concentration in the polymers is expected to be less than 0.5%.