Molecular Understanding of Organic Solar Cells: The Challenges

Jean-Luc Brédas, Joseph E. Norton, Jérôme Cornil, Veaceslav Coropceanu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1289 Scopus citations


(Figure presented) Our objective in this Account is 3-fold. First, we provide an overview of the optical and electronic processes that take place in a solid-state organic solar cell, which we define as a cell in which the semiconducting materials between the electrodes are organic, be them polymers, oligomers, or small molecules; this discussion is also meant to set the conceptual framework in which many of the contributions to this Special Issue on Photovoltaics can We viewed. We successively turn our attention to (i) optical absorption and exciton formation, (ii) exciton migration to the donor - acceptor interface, (iii) exciton dissociation into charge carriers, resulting in the appearance of holes in the donor and electrons in the acceptor, (iv) charge-carrier mobility, and (v) charge collection at the electrodes. For each of these processes, we also describe the theoretical challenges that need to be overcome to gain a comprehensive understanding at the molecular level. Finally, we highlight recent theoretical advances, in particular regarding the determination of the energetics and dynamics at organic - organic interfaces, and underline that the right balance needs to be found for the optimization of material parameters that often result in opposite effects on the photovoltaic performance. © 2009 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1691-1699
Number of pages9
JournalAccounts of Chemical Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 17 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-C1-015-21
Acknowledgements: The work at Georgia Tech has been partially supported by the Center for Advanced Molecular Photovoltaics [Award KUS-C1-015-21 made by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)], Office of Naval Research (ONR), Solvay, and National Science Foundation (NSF) under the STC Program (Award DMR-0120967). The Georgia Tech-Mons collaboration is funded in part by the European Commission project MINOTOR (FP7-NMP-228424). The authors acknowledge stimulating discussions with their collaborators in these programs and the members of their research groups. J.C. is a Senior Research Fellow of FNRS-Belgium.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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