A series of “double-cable” conjugated polymers were developed for application in efficient single-component polymer solar cells, in which high quantum efficiencies could be achieved due to the optimized nanophase separation between donor and acceptor parts. The new double-cable polymers contain electron-donating poly(benzodithiophene) (BDT) as linear conjugated backbone for hole transport and pendant electron-deficient perylene bisimide (PBI) units for electron transport, connected via a dodecyl linker. Sulfur and fluorine substituents were introduced to tune the energy levels and crystallinity of the conjugated polymers. The double-cable polymers adopt a “face-on” orientation in which the conjugated BDT backbone and the pendant PBI units have a preferential π–π stacking direction perpendicular to the substrate, favorable for interchain charge transport normal to the plane. The linear conjugated backbone acts as a scaffold for the crystallization of the PBI groups, to provide a double-cable nanophase separation of donor and acceptor phases. The optimized nanophase separation enables efficient exciton dissociation as well as charge transport as evidenced from the high—up to 80%—internal quantum efficiency for photon-to-electron conversion. In single-component organic solar cells, the double-cable polymers provide power conversion efficiency up to 4.18%. This is one of the highest performances in single-component organic solar cells. The nanophase-separated design can likely be used to achieve high-performance single-component organic solar cells.
Feng, G., Li, J., Colberts, F. J. M., Li, M., Zhang, J., Yang, F., Jin, Y., Zhang, F., Janssen, R. A. J., Li, C., & Li, W. (2017). "Double-Cable" conjugated polymers with linear backbone toward high quantum efficiencies in single-component polymer solar cells. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 139(51), 18647-18656. https://doi.org/10.1021/jacs.7b10499