Efficiency Limits in Wide-Bandgap Ge-Containing Donor Polymer:Non-Fullerene Acceptor Bulk Heterojunction Solar Cells

Jafar Iqbal Khan, Sarah Alsaggaf, Raja Ashraf, Balaji Purushothaman, Neha Chaturvedi, Iain McCulloch, Frédéric Laquai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A precise picture of the photophysics that determine the efficiency of non-fullerene acceptor (NFA) bulk heterojunction (BHJ) organic solar cells is still missing, yet needed to mitigate the remaining loss channels. Here, we investigate charge carrier generation and recombination dynamics in blends of a novel wide-bandgap germanium-containing donor polymer, namely PEHGeNDT-BT, paired with either O-IDTBR or O-IDTBCN as non-fullerene acceptor in BHJ solar cells by (ultrafast) transient spectroscopy and time-delayed collection field (TDCF) experiments. Photovoltaic devices yield moderate power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) of 5.3% when using O-IDTBCN as acceptor, and only about 2% when using O-IDTBR as acceptor, the latter severely limited by its low photocurrent and moderate fill factor (FF) of ∽43%. Time-resolved photoluminescence experiments reveal limited exciton quenching as one loss channel in O-IDTBR based blends, accompanied by significant geminate recombination further reducing the photocurrent, while field-dependent charge generation is identified as the origin of the low FF. Geminate recombination is less in the O-IDTBCN blend and charge generation is field-independent, leading to improved photocurrent and FF. Carrier drift-diffusion simulations of the devices’ current-voltage (J-V) characteristics confirm that the experimentally-determined kinetic parameters and process yields can reproduce the measured J-V curves under steady-state solar illumination.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Journalphysica status solidi (RRL) – Rapid Research Letters
StatePublished - Jun 2 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-06-05
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2018-CARF/CCF-3079
Acknowledgements: This publication is based upon work supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under Award No: OSR-2018-CARF/CCF-3079.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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