Tuning the electron-deficient core of a non-fullerene acceptor to achieve over 17% efficiency in a single-junction organic solar cell†
Finding effective molecular design strategies to enable efficient charge generation and small energy loss is among the long-standing challenges in developing high performance non-fullerene organic solar cells (OSCs). Recently, we reported Y-series non-fullerene acceptors with an electron-deficient-core-based fused structure (typically Y6), opening a new door to achieve high external quantum efficiency (∼80%) while maintaining low energy loss (∼0.57 eV). On this basis, further reducing the energy losses and ultimately improving the performance of OSCs has become a research hotspot. In this paper, we design and synthesize a new member of the Y-series acceptor family, Y18, which adopts a fused benzotriazole segment with unique luminescence properties as its electron-deficient core. Compared to Y6, the benzotriazole-based acceptor Y18 exhibits extended optical absorption and higher voltage. Consequently, the device delivers a promising power conversion efficiency of 16.52% with a very low energy loss of 0.53 eV. Further device optimization by exploiting a ternary blend strategy allowed us to achieve a high efficiency of 17.11% (certified as 16.76% by NREL). Y18 may become one of the most important candidate materials for its broader absorption spectra and higher voltage of Y18 (compared to Y6) in the OSCs field.