A strategy of the fine-tuning of the degree of intrachain charge transfer and aromaticity of polymer backbone was adopted to design and synthesize new polymers applicable in photovoltaics. Three conjugated polymers P1, P2, and P3 were synthesized by alternating the electron-donating dithieno[3,2-b:2′3′-d]pyrrole (D) and three different electron-accepting (A) segments (P1: N-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalimide; P2: 1,4-diketo-3,6-diphenylpyrrolo[3,4-c]pyrrole; and P3: thiophene-3-hexyl formate) in the polymer main chain. Among the three polymers, P2 possessed the broadest absorption band ranging from 300 to 760 nm, the lowest bandgap (1.63 eV), and enough low HOMO energy level (−5.27 eV) because of the strong intrachain charge transfer from D to A units and the appropriate extent of quinoid state in the main chain of P2, which was convinced by the theoretical simulation of molecular geometry and front orbits. Photovoltaic study of solar cells based on the blends of P1–P3 and [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) demonstrated that P2:PCBM exhibited the best performance: a power conversion efficiency of 1.22% with a high open-circuit voltage (VOC) of 0.70 V and a large short-circuit current (ISC) of 5.02 mA/cm2 were achieved. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem, 2011
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