High photovoltage achieved in low band gap polymer solar cells by adjusting energy levels of a polymer with the LUMOs of fullerene derivatives
Journal article, 2008
Solar cells based on organic molecules or conjugated polymers attract great attention due to their unique advantages, such as low cost, and their use in flexible devices, but are still limited by their low power conversion efficiency (PCE). To improve the PCEs of polymer solar cells, more efforts have been made to increase short-circuit current (Jsc) or open-circuit voltage (Voc). However, the trade-off between Jsc and Voc in bulk heterojunctions solar cells makes it tricky to find a polymer with a low band gap to efficiently absorb photons in the visible and near infrared region of the solar spectrum, while maintaining a high Voc in solar cells. Therefore, it is crucial to design and synthesize polymers with energy levels aligning with the LUMO (lowest unoccupied molecular orbital) of an electron acceptor to minimize the LUMO level difference between donor and acceptor to keep enough driving force for charge generation, thereby maximizing photovoltage in solar cells. Here a novel copolymer APFO-Green 9 was synthesized. Polymer solar cells based on APFO-Green 9 blended with a derivative of fullerene demonstrate high photovoltage by fine tuning the HOMO and LUMO level of APFO-Green 9. Solar cells based on APFO-Green 9 and [6,6]-phenyl-C71-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) present a photoresponse extended to 900 nm with Jsc of 6.5 mA cm−2, Voc of 0.81 V and PCE of 2.3% under illumination of AM1.5 with light intensity of 100 mW cm−2. As a low band gap polymer with a Voc bigger than 0.8 V, APFO-Green 9 is a promising candidate for efficient tandem solar cells.