Organic solar cell based on trichlorobenzene achieves 19.31% efficiency

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A research team led by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University developed a non-monotonic intermediated state manipulation (ISM) strategy aimed at increasing power-conversion efficiency and reducing non-radiative recombination losses in organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells.

The scientists configured a novel organic solar cell morphology-regulating technique by using 1,3,5-trichlorobenzene as a crystallization regulator. Their cell featured one donor and one acceptor in the photo-active layer. They then applied the ISM strategy to both manipulate the bulk-heterojunction organic solar cell morphology and optimize the crystallization dynamics and energy loss of the non-fullerene organic absorber.

They explained that their ISM strategy, which took about two years to devise, promotes the formation of more ordered molecular stacking and favorable molecular aggregation when compared to traditional solvent additives.

The academics built the cell with a substrate made of glass and indium tin oxide (ITO), a layer based on the PEDOT:PSS polymer, the organic absorber, and a layer made of the PFN polymer.

The ISM strategy was found to be considerably beneficial to the power conversion efficiency of the organic PV device, which reached 19.31%. This result, according to the research group, represents a record for binary organic solar cells.

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The cell was also found to have a non-radiative recombination loss of only 0.168 eV, which the scientists claim is significantly lower than that of counterparts built without the ISM strategy.

“The new finding will make organic solar cell research an exciting field, and this will likely create tremendous opportunities in applications like portable electronics and building-integrated photovoltaics,” said the research's lead author, Li Gang, noting the results are very encouraging for the long-standing research on organic solar cells.

The novel cell design was described in the study “19.3% Binary Organic Solar Cell and Low Non-Radiative Recombination Enabled by Non-Monotonic Intermediate State Transition,” published in nature communications.

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