5 years ago

Molecular Engineering of Side Chain architecture of Conjugated Polymers Enhances Performance of Photovoltaics by Tuning Ternary Blend Structures

Molecular Engineering of Side Chain architecture of Conjugated Polymers Enhances Performance of Photovoltaics by Tuning Ternary Blend Structures
Several approaches, including the use of small molecule acceptors, novel polymer structures, and tandem cell structures, have been adopted to prepare polymer solar cells displaying high power conversion efficiencies (PCEs). The application of ternary blends as the active layer for polymer solar cells—for which the absorption spectra can be tuned by varying the composition ratios of components—is another facile approach toward optimizing the PCEs of devices. The selection of suitable ternary blends active layer often relies on intuition and remains a formidable challenge. Here, we adopted a systemic approach of not only using the same donor chemical units in the two donor-acceptor (D/A) conjugated polymers with complementary light absorption (energy band gaps) but also varying the side chains architectures as a means of tuning the packing of these semi-planar conjugated polymers, thereby influencing the carrier transport and optimizing the PCE. We employed linear, branch and mixed linear-and-branch side-chain attached benzooxadiazole (BO) as the acceptor (A) units in poly[benzodithiophene-thiophene-benzooxadiazole] (PBDTTBO) conjugated polymers and monitored their interactions with poly[benzodithiophene-fluorothienothiophene] (PTB7-TH), both of which featured the same benzodithiophene (BDTT) donor (D) units. We found that incorporating a minor amount (10%) of D/A conjugated PBDTTBO with such side chains into the PTB7-TH with a fullerene allowed us to tune the packing of the two polymers and, thereby, enhance the PCEs of corresponding ternary blend devices; the PCE of the ternary blend device incorporating PBDTTBO with two branched-side chains, PTB7-TH, and PC71BM increased to 11.4% from 9.0% for the device incorporating only the binary blend of PTB7-TH and PC71BM—a relative increase of more than 25%. This approach of using side chain engineering to tune the structure of a minor conjugated polymer and, thus, influence the packing of another major conjugated polymer that features the same donor chemical units appears to be an effective means of preparing highly efficient polymer cells.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S221128551730695X

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