Efficient Nonfullerene Polymer Solar Cells Enabled by a Novel Wide Bandgap Small Molecular Acceptor

Journal: Advanced Materials

Published: 2017-03-01

DOI: 10.1002/adma.201606054

Affiliations: 4

Authors: 9

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Research Highlight

Fun and fullerene-free solar cells

© David Trood/DigitalVision/Getty

© David Trood/DigitalVision/Getty

A new material could make solar cells more efficient and cheaper to build.

Photovoltaic cells convert visible light into electricity but the complex materials involved make them expensive to assemble. Fullerene has been widely used to carry electrical charge, but is costly to process and absorbs a limited range of light wavelengths.

A team led by researchers from Sichuan University in China have developed a new fullerene-free ‘small molecular acceptor’. In solar cells, this crucial component takes electrons from the ‘donor’ material, which converts the incoming photons (light particles) to electrons, and carries them to the electrodes. The team wrapped electron-deficient organic molecules — ready-to-absorb electrons from the donor — around a core of spirobifluorene, a semiconducting polymer that eases the flow of electrons. They mixed this with a popular donor material in a photovoltaic cell and exposed it to a xenon lamp. The device converted 10.26 per cent of light energy to electricity, demonstrating the potential to create more efficient fullerene-free solar cells.

Supported content

  1. Advanced Materials 29, 1606054 (2017). doi: 10.1002/adma.201606054
Institutions Share
MOE Key Laboratory of Green Chemistry and Technology, SCU, China 0.28
Sichuan University (SCU), China 0.28
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), China 0.22
North Carolina State University (NCSU), United States of America (USA) 0.22