“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.
- benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b′]dithiophene (BDT)
- nonfullerene acceptor
- organic photovoltaics
- polymer solar cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Materials Science(all)