Impact of mesoscale order on open-circuit voltage in organic solar cells

C. Poelking, M. Tietze, C. Elschner, S. Olthof, D. Hertel, B. Baumeier, F. Würthner, K. Meerholz, K. Leo, D. Andrienko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

156 Citations (Scopus)


Structural order in organic solar cells is paramount: it reduces energetic disorder, boosts charge and exciton mobilities, and assists exciton splitting. Owing to spatial localization of electronic states, microscopic descriptions of photovoltaic processes tend to overlook the influence of structural features at the mesoscale. Long-range electrostatic interactions nevertheless probe this ordering, making local properties depend on the mesoscopic order. Using a technique developed to address spatially aperiodic excitations in thin films and in bulk, we show how inclusion of mesoscale order resolves the controversy between experimental and theoretical results for the energy-level profile and alignment in a variety of photovoltaic systems, with direct experimental validation. Optimal use of long-range ordering also rationalizes the acceptor-donor-acceptor paradigm for molecular design of donor dyes. We predict open-circuit voltages of planar heterojunction solar cells in excellent agreement with experimental data, based only on crystal structures and interfacial orientation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-439
Number of pages6
JournalNature Materials
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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