Recombination in Polymer:Fullerene Solar Cells with Open-Circuit Voltages Approaching and Exceeding 1.0 V



Polymer:fullerene solar cells are demonstrated with power conversion efficiencies over 7% with blends of PBDTTPD and PC61BM. These devices achieve open-circuit voltages (Voc) of 0.945 V and internal quantum efficiencies of 88%, making them an ideal candidate for the large bandgap junction in tandem solar cells. Voc’s above 1.0 V are obtained when the polymer is blended with multiadduct fullerenes; however, the photocurrent and fill factor are greatly reduced. In PBDTTPD blends with multiadduct fullerene ICBA, fullerene emission is observed in the photoluminescence and electroluminescence spectra, indicating that excitons are recombining on ICBA. Voltage-dependent, steady state and time-resolved photoluminescence measurements indicate that energy transfer occurs from PBDTTPD to ICBA and that back hole transfer from ICBA to PBDTTPD is inefficient. By analyzing the absorption and emission spectra from fullerene and charge transfer excitons, we estimate a driving free energy of –0.14 ± 0.06 eV is required for efficient hole transfer. These results suggest that the driving force for hole transfer may be too small for efficient current generation in polymer:fullerene solar cells with Voc values above 1.0 V and that non-fullerene acceptor materials with large optical gaps (>1.7 eV) may be required to achieve both near unity internal quantum efficiencies and values of Voc exceeding 1.0 V.