What is Killing Organic Photovoltaics: Light-Induced Crosslinking as a General Degradation Pathway of Organic Conjugated Molecules

Olga R. Yamilova, Ilya V. Martynov, Allison S. Brandvold, Irina V. Klimovich, Alex H. Balzer, Alexander V. Akkuratov, Ilya E. Kusnetsov, Natalie Stingelin, Pavel A. Troshin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


In view of a rapid development and increase in efficiency of organic solar cells, reaching their long-term operational stability represents now one of the main challenges to be addressed on the way toward commercialization of this photovoltaic technology. However, intrinsic degradation pathways occurring in organic solar cells under realistic operational conditions remain poorly understood. The light-induced dimerization of the fullerene-based acceptor materials discovered recently is considered to be one of the main causes for burn-in degradation of organic solar cells. In this work, it is shown that not only the fullerene derivatives but also different types of conjugated polymers and small molecules undergo similar light-induced crosslinking regardless of their chemical composition and structure. In the case of conjugated polymers, crosslinking of macromolecules leads to a rapid increase in their molecular weight and consequent loss of solubility, which can be revealed in a straightforward way by gel permeation chromatography analysis via a reduction/loss of signal and/or smaller retention times. Results of this work, thus, shift the paradigm of research in the field toward designing a new generation of organic absorbers with enhanced intrinsic photochemical stability in order to reach practically useful operation lifetimes required for successful commercialization of organic photovoltaics.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1903163
JournalAdvanced Energy Materials
StatePublished - Jan 15 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (Project No. 18-13-00205). N.S. acknowledges the KAUST project OSR-2016-CRG5-3029-01 for financial support


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