Improving Performance of All-Polymer Solar Cells Through Backbone Engineering of Both Donors and Acceptors
Journal article, 2018

All-polymer solar cells (APSCs), composed of semiconducting donor and acceptor polymers, have attracted considerable attention due to their unique advantages compared to polymer-fullerene-based devices in terms of enhanced light absorption and morphological stability. To improve the performance of APSCs, the morphology of the active layer must be optimized. By employing a random copolymerization strategy to control the regularity of the backbone of the donor polymers (PTAZ-TPDx) and acceptor polymers (PNDI-Tx) the morphology can be systematically optimized by tuning the polymer packing and crystallinity. To minimize effects of molecular weight, both donor and acceptor polymers have number-average molecular weights in narrow ranges. Experimental and coarse-grained modeling results disclose that systematic backbone engineering greatly affects the polymer crystallinity and ultimately the phase separation and morphology of the all-polymer blends. Decreasing the backbone regularity of either the donor or the acceptor polymer reduces the local crystallinity of the individual phase in blend films, affording reduced short-circuit current densities and fill factors. This two-dimensional crystallinity optimization strategy locates a PCE maximum at highest crystallinity for both donor and acceptor polymers. Overall, this study demonstrates that proper control of both donor and acceptor polymer crystallinity simultaneously is essential to optimize APSC performance.


device performance


all-polymer solar cells


Chunhui Duan

South China University of Technology

Eindhoven University of Technology

Zhaojun Li

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry, Polymer Technology

Shuting Pang

South China University of Technology

You-Liang Zhu

Chinese Academy of Sciences

Baojun Lin

Xi'an Jiaotong University

Fallon J. M. Colberts

Eindhoven University of Technology

Pieter J. Leenaers

Eindhoven University of Technology

Ergang Wang

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry, Ergang Wang Group

Zhao-Yan Sun

Chinese Academy of Sciences

Wei Ma

Xi'an Jiaotong University

Stefan C. J. Meskers

Eindhoven University of Technology

Rene A. J. Janssen

Eindhoven University of Technology

Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research


2367-198X (ISSN)

Vol. 2 12

Subject Categories

Polymer Chemistry

Polymer Technologies

Textile, Rubber and Polymeric Materials



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