Influence of aromatic heterocycle of conjugated side chains on photovoltaic performance of benzodithiophene-based wide-bandgap polymers†
Extensive efforts have been focused on the study of wide-band gap (WBG) polymers due to their important applications in multiple junction and ternary blend organic solar cells. Herein, three WBG copolymers named PBDT(X)-T1 (X = O, S, Se) were synthesized based on the benzodithiophene (BDT) donor unit and 1,3-bis(5-bromothiophen-2-yl)-5,7-bis(2-ethylhexyl)-4H,8H-benzo[1,2-c:4,5-c′]dithiophene-4,8-dione (T1) acceptor unit. Different aromatic heterocycle groups (furan, thiophene and selenophene) were introduced to modify the BDT unit to investigate the influence of conjugated side chains on the photovoltaic properties of conjugated polymers. Photophysical properties, electrochemistry, charge transport and crystalline properties of the polymers were studied to discuss the role of chalcogen atoms on the performance of conjugated polymers. Solar cells based on these three WBG copolymers were fabricated. Among them, the PBDT(Se)-T1-based solar cell shows the best photovoltaic performance with the highest power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 8.52%, an open-circuit voltage (Voc) of 0.91 V, and a high fill factor (FF) of 72%. The high crystallinity and preferential face-on orientation in the blend film partially explain the superior photovoltaic performance achieved in PBDT(Se)-T1-based solar cells. The results indicate the important role of chalcogen atoms in conjugated side chains and that high photovoltaic performance can be realized through side chain engineering of BDT-based WBG conjugated polymers.