Universal Design Principles for Cascade Heterojunction Solar Cells with High Fill Factors and Internal Quantum Efficiencies Approaching 100%

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Abstract

Cascade heterojunction (CHJ) organic solar cells have recently emerged as an alternative to conventional bulk heterojunctions and series-connected tandems due to their significant promise for high internal quantum efficiency (IQE) and broad spectral coverage. However, CHJ devices thus far have also exhibited poor fill factor (FF), resulting in minimal enhancements (or even decreases) in power conversion efficiency (PCE) when compared with single heterojunction (SHJ) cells. In this study, the major variables controlling the CHJ maximum power point and FF are determined using a combinatorial approach. By matching the maximum power point voltage (VMPP) of the constituent parallel-connected heterojunctions (subjunctions) and minimizing the injection barriers intrinsic to CHJs, high FF and PCE can be achieved. Optimized CHJ devices are demonstrated with >99% IQE in the interlayer and a 46% increase in PCE compared to a SHJ reference (4.1% versus 2.8%). Devices with a transparent exciton dissociation layer (EDL)/interlayer/acceptor structure are employed, such that each CHJ has absorption efficiency identical to its interlayer/acceptor SHJ counterpart. Using these results, a clear map of performance as a function of material parameters is developed, providing straightforward, universal design rules to guide future engineering of molecules and layer architectures for CHJ organic photovoltaic devices.

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