Advanced Materials

Molecular Materials for Organic Photovoltaics: Small is Beautiful


  • Dedicated to Prof Francis Garnier on the occasion of his 75 birthday


An overview of some recent developments of the chemistry of molecular donor materials for organic photovoltaics (OPV) is presented. Although molecular materials have been used for the fabrication of OPV cells from the very beginning of the field, the design of molecular donors specifically designed for OPV is a relatively recent research area. In the past few years, molecular donors have been used in both vacuum-deposited and solution-processed OPV cells and both fields have witnessed impressive progress with power conversion efficiencies crossing the symbolic limit of 10 %. However, this progress has been achieved at the price of an increasing complexity of the chemistry of active materials and of the technology of device fabrication. This evolution probably inherent to the progress of research is difficult to reconcile with the necessity for OPV to demonstrate a decisive economic advantage over existing silicon technology. In this short review various classes of molecular donors are discussed with the aim of defining possible basic molecular structures that can combine structural simplicity, low molecular weight, synthetic accessibility, scalability and that can represent possible starting points for the development of simple and cost-effective OPV materials.