Carboxylate-substituted polythiophenes for efficient fullerene-free polymer solar cells: the effect of chlorination on their properties

Qi Wang, Miaomiao Li (Corresponding author), Xiaowei Zhang, Yunpeng Qin, Junke Wang, Jidong Zhang, Jianhui Hou, René A.J. Janssen, Yanhou Geng (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)
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Two new wide-bandgap polythiophenes, i.e., poly[5,5′-bis(2-hexyldecyl)-(2,2′-bithiophene)-4,4′-dicarboxylate-alt-5,5′-3-chloro-2,2′-bithiophene] (PDCBT-Cl) and poly[5,5′-bis(2-hexyldecyl)-(2,2′-bithiophene)-4,4′-dicarboxylate-alt-5,5′-3,3′-dichloro-2,2′-bithiophene] (PDCBT-2Cl) comprising 3-chloro-2,2′-bithiophene and 3,3′-dichloro-2,2′-bithiophene moieties, respectively, were synthesized for fullerene-free polymer solar cells (PSCs). For comparison, three other polymers based on [2,2′-bithiophene]-4,4′-dicarboxylate (DCBT), i.e., PDCBT, PDCBT-F, and PDCBT-2F with 2,2′-bithiophene, 3-fluoro-2,2′-bithiophene, and 3,3′-difluoro-2,2′-bithiophene as comonomers, respectively, were also prepared. PSC devices were fabricated with these polymers as donor materials and ITIC-Th1 as acceptor. The incorporation of chlorine (Cl) or fluorine (F) atoms into polymers both efficiently downshifted the highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) energy levels, leading to higher open-circuit voltage (Voc) in the PSCs. Owing to the proper phase-separated morphology with favorable molecular packing and miscibility, the device based on PDCBT-Cl:ITIC-Th1 exhibited efficient exciton dissociation and charge collection as well as weak charge recombination and thereby displayed the best power conversion efficiency (PCE) up to 12.38%. The devices based on other polymers showed inferior PCEs (8.14% for PDCBT, 10.85% for PDCBT-F, 8.48% for PDCBT-2F, and 6.94% for PDCBT-2Cl). The monomers that are used to make PDCBT-Cl can be synthesized in relatively large scale from commercial available chemicals. All these indicate that PDCBT-Cl is a promising donor material for the large area fabrication of high-performance fullerene-free PSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4464-4474
Number of pages11
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2019


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