Shengjian Liu, Federico Cruciani, Pierre M. Beaujuge, Sergei Lopatin, Michael A. Müller, Frederic Laquai, Yuliar Firdaus, Guy O. Ngongang Ndjawa, Luna Pratali Maffei, Aram Amassian, Nimer Wehbe
“Nonfullerene” acceptors are proving effective in bulk heterojunction (BHJ) solar cells when paired with selected polymer donors. However, the principles that guide the selection of adequate polymer donors for high-efficiency BHJ solar cells with nonfullerene acceptors remain a matter of some debate and, while polymer main-chain substitutions may have a direct influence on the donor–acceptor interplay, those effects should be examined and correlated with BHJ device performance patterns. This report examines a set of wide-bandgap polymer donor analogues composed of benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b′]dithiophene (BDT), and thienyl ([2H]T) or 3,4-difluorothiophene ([2F]T) motifs, and their BHJ device performance pattern with the nonfullerene acceptor “ITIC”. Studies show that the fluorine- and ring-substituted derivative PBDT(T)[2F]T largely outperforms its other two polymer donor counterparts, reaching power conversion efficiencies as high as 9.8%. Combining several characterization techniques, the gradual device performance improvements observed on swapping PBDT[2H]T for PBDT[2F]T, and then for PBDT(T)[2F]T, are found to result from (i) notably improved charge generation and collection efficiencies (estimated as ≈60%, 80%, and 90%, respectively), and (ii) reduced geminate recombination (being suppressed from ≈30%, 25% to 10%) and bimolecular recombination (inferred from recombination rate constant comparisons). These examinations will have broader implications for further studies on the optimization of BHJ solar cell efficiencies with polymer donors and a wider range of nonfullerene acceptors.
Swapping main-chain substituents in a set of analogous wide-bandgap polymer donors is shown to result in gradual bulk-heterojunction (BHJ) device performance improvements when the polymers are combined with the nonfullerene acceptor “ITIC”. The gradual improvements result from better charge generation, collection, and reduced geminate and bimolecular recombination, leading to polymer-nonfullerene BHJ solar cells with power conversion efficiencies as high as 9.8%.