The combination of narrow-bandgap diketopyrrolopyrrole (DPP) polymers and nonfullerene acceptors (NFAs) seems well-matched for solar cells that exclusively absorb in the near infrared but they rarely provide high efficiency. One reason is that processing of the active layer is complicated by the fact that DPP-based polymers are generally only sufficiently soluble in chloroform (CF), while NFAs are preferably processed from halogenated aromatic solvents. By using a ternary solvent system consisting of CF, 1,8-diiodooctane (DIO), and chlorobenzene (CB), the short-circuit current density is increased by 50% in solar cells based on a DPP polymer (PDPP5T) and a NFA (IEICO-4F) compared to the use of CF with DIO only. However, the open-circuit voltage and fill factor are reduced. As a result, the efficiency improves from 3.4 to 4.8% only. The use of CB results in stronger aggregation of IEICO-4F as inferred from two-dimensional grazing-incidence wide-angle X-ray diffraction. Photo- A nd electroluminescence and mobility measurements indicate that the changes in performance can be ascribed to a more aggregated blend film in which charge generation is increased but nonradiative recombination is enhanced because of reduced hole mobility. Hence, while CB is essential to obtain well-ordered domains of IEICO-4F in blends with PDPP5T, the morphology and resulting hole mobility of PDPP5T domains remain suboptimal. The results identify the challenges in processing organic solar cells based on DPP polymers and NFAs as near-infrared absorbing photoactive layers.
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