• charge transfer;
  • energy conversion;
  • oligothiophenes;
  • sensitizers;
  • solar cells


Novel carboxylated oligothiophenes with different thiophene units were designed and synthesized as photosensitizers in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) for efficient opto-electric materials. The introduction of [BOND]COOH into thiophene molecules can lead to a red shift of UV-visible absorption, increase light-harvesting efficiency, and enhance photoinduced charge transport by forming efficient covalent bonds to the substrate surface. A red shift of the absorption spectrum of oligothiophene is also achieved by the increase in the number of thiophene units. The DSSCs based on the oligomers have excellent photovoltaic performances. Under 100 mW cm−2 irradiation a short-circuit current of 10.57 mA cm−2 and an overall energy conversion efficiency of 3.36 % is achieved when pentathiophene dicarboxylated acid was used as a sensitizer. The incident photo-to-current conversion efficiency (IPCE) has a maximum as high as 80 %. In addition, photovoltage and photocurrent transients show that slow charge recombination in DSSCs is important for efficient charge separation and excellent photoelectric conversion properties of the oligomers. These initial and promising results suggest that carboxylated oligothiophenes are efficient photosensitizers.