Performance Evolution of Organic Solar Cells Using Nonfullerene Fused-Ring Electron Acceptors

  • Xin Song

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


As one of the most promising solar cell technologies, organic solar cells have unique superiorities distinct from inorganic counterparts, such as semitransparency, flexibility and solution-processability, as well as tunable photophysical properties, which originate from the structural verstailities of organic semiconductors. A major breakthrough in OSCs was the exploration of novel non-fullerene electron acceptor (NFAs): In comparison with traditional fullerene derivative acceptors, NFA possesses several advantages, such as low synthesis cost, tunable absorption range and adjustable energetic level, which effectively provides a wide light-harvesting window with low energetic loss. In recent decades, fused-ring electron acceptors (FREAs) have obtained an irreplaceable status in the development of OSCs. However, there are still initial drawbacks to FREA-based devices including: 1: the degree of molecular packing and the corresponding impact on device performance, which has not been studied in depth; 2: the feasibility of approaches for controlling the bulk heterojunction morphology of the film, which also has not been systemic researched; 3: the presence of bulk (geminate and non-geminate) and surface recombination which significantly affects the efficiency and stability of working devices. In this thesis, I took the above three issues as my main doctoral research subjects. In the first part of the thesis, I shine light onto the strength of π-conjugated backbones in FREA molecular structures, which strongly affect the intramolecular interaction. Herein, two FREA with different conjugated framework (IDT core vs IDTT core) are synthesized and employed as electron acceptors in OSCs. A significantly enhanced power conversion efficiency of 11.2% is obtained from IDTTIC-based devices in comparison with that of IDTIC-based devices (5.6%). After considering the electron-donating part in FREA molecules, I also study the effect of the terminal unit, which has a strong relationship with the intramolecular charge transfer effect and intermolecular interactions. Solvent additives are another powerful strategy to further improve the photovoltaic efficiency. 1-chloronaphthalene (CN) was found to be useful in the PTB7-Th:IEICO-4F system, which show a PCE improvement from 9.5% to 12.8%. Furthermore, by utilizing a small molecule donor, BIT-4F-T, as a third component, an optimum PCE of 14.0% is achieved in the devices based on PTB7-Th:IEICO-4F.
Date of AwardOct 24 2019
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorDerya Baran (Supervisor)


  • Organic Solar Cells
  • fused-ring electron acceptors (FREAs)
  • small molecule

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