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Keywords:

  • bulk heterojunctions;
  • merocyanines;
  • organic solar cells;
  • small molecules;
  • vacuum processing

Abstract

In order to be competitive on the energy market, organic solar cells with higher efficiency are needed. To date, polymer solar cells have retained the lead with efficiencies of up to 8%. However, research on small molecule solar cells has been catching up throughout recent years and is showing similar efficiencies, however, only for more sophisticated multilayer device configurations. In this work, a simple, highly efficient, vacuum-processed small molecule solar cell based on merocyanine dyes – traditional colorants that can easily be mass-produced and purified – is presented. In the past, merocyanines have been successfully introduced in solution-processed as well as vacuum-processed devices, demonstrating efficiencies up to 4.9%. Here, further optimization of devices is achieved while keeping the same simple layer stack, ultimately leading to efficiencies beyond the 6% mark. In addition, physical properties such as the charge carrier transport and the cell performance under various light intensities are addressed.