Plasmonic Back Reflectors: A Small Molecule Non-fullerene Electron Acceptor for Organic Solar Cells



Organic bulk heterojunction photovoltaic devices predominantly use the fullerene derivatives [C60]PCBM and [C70]PCBM as the electron accepting component. This report presents a new organic electron accepting small molecule 2-[{7-(9,9-di-n-propyl-9H-fluoren-2-yl)benzo[c][1,2,5]thiadiazol-4-yl}methylene]malononitrile (K12) for organic solar cell applications. It can be processed by evaporation under vacuum or by solution processing to give amorphous thin films and can be annealed at a modest temperature to give films with much greater order and enhanced charge transport properties. The molecule can efficiently quench the photoluminescence of the donor polymer poly(3-n-hexylthiophene-2,5-diyl) (P3HT) and time resolved microwave conductivity measurements show that mobile charges are generated indicating that a truly charge separated state is formed. The power conversion efficiencies of the photovoltaic devices are found to depend strongly on the acceptor packing. Optimized K12:P3HT bulk heterojunction devices have efficiencies of 0.73±0.01% under AM1.5G simulated sunlight. The efficiencies of the devices are limited by the level of crystallinity and nanoscale morphology that was achievable in the blend with P3HT.