Donor and Acceptor Polymers for Bulk Hetero Junction Solar Cell and Photodetector Applications

  • Federico Cruciani

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Bulk heterojunction (BHJ) devices represent a very versatile family of organic cells for both the fields of solar energy conversion and photodetection. Organic photovoltaics (OPV) are an attractive alternative to their silicon-based counterparts because of their potential for low-cost roll-to-roll printing, and their intended application in light-weight mechanically conformable devices and in window-type semi-transparent PV modules. Of all proposed OPV candidates, polymer donor with different absorption range are especially promising when used in conjunction with complementary absorbing acceptor materials, like fullerene derivatives (PCBM), conjugated molecules or polymers, achieving nowadays power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) in the range of 10-13% and being a step closer to practical applications. Among the photodetectors (PD), low band gap polymer blended with PCBM decked out the attention, given their extraordinary range of detection from UV to IR and high detectivity values reached so far, compared to the inorganic devices. Since the research has been focused on the enhancement of those numbers for an effective commercialization of organic cells, the topic of the following thesis has been centered on the synthesis of different polymer structures with diverse absorption ranges, used as donor or acceptor, with emphasis on performance in various BHJ devices either for solar cells and photodetectors. In the first part, two new wide band gap polymers, used as donor material in BHJ devices blended with fullerene and small molecule acceptors, are presented. The PBDT_2FT and PBDTT_2FT have shown nice efficiencies from 7% to 9.8%. The device results are implemented with a morphology study and a specific application in a semi-transparent tandem device, reaching a record PCE of 5.4% for average level of transparency of 48%. In another section two new low band gap polymers (Eopt~ 1.26 eV) named DTP_2FBT and (Eopt~ 1.1 eV) named BDTT_BTQ are presented. While the DTP based one resulted to be an optimal candidate for future tandem solar cell application, the other one has been applied for a competitive PD. At last, a comparative study displaying two new acceptor polymers based on modified Isoindigo motifs named PIID(CO)_2FT and PIID(CO)_BTIA brought some prospective for future investigations on fullerene free OSC.
Date of AwardApr 2018
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorPierre Beaujuge (Supervisor)


  • solar cell
  • Polymers
  • Photodetectors

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