Acta Physico-Chimica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (5): 503-508.doi: 10.3866/PKU.WHXB201805151

Special Issue: Nonfullerene Organic Solar Cells

• ARTICLE • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Bandgap Modulation of Dithienonaphthalene-Based Small-Molecule Acceptors for Nonfullerene Organic Solar Cells

Meiqi ZHANG1,2,Yunlong MA1,2,Qingdong ZHENG1,*()   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Structural Chemistry, Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Fuzhou 350002, P. R. China
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, P. R. China
  • Received:2018-04-18 Published:2018-10-19
  • Contact: Qingdong ZHENG
  • Supported by:
    the National Natural Science Foundation of China(U1605241);the Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences, CAS(QYZDB-SSW-SLH032)


By using photovoltaic technology, ambient solar light can be directly converted to electricity. The photovoltaic technology has been regarded as one of the most important and promising strategies to resolve the worldwide energy and pollution problems. As one type of photovoltaic technology, polymer solar cells have attracted increasing interest due to their advantages of solution processing capability, low-cost, feasibility to be fabricated on flexible substrates etc. Not until a few years ago, the fullerene derivatives had been dominated the organic photovoltaic field as the most promising acceptor materials for polymer solar cells. However, fullerene-based polymer solar cells have a power conversion efficiency bottleneck due to the relatively fixed energy levels as well as the fixed bandgaps of fullerene derivatives. Therefore, researchers started to develop nonfullerene acceptors which can be used as alternatives to replace the traditional fullerene derivatives. Compared to the fullerene derivatives, nonfullerene acceptors offer several advantages such as stronger light absorption, tunable bandgaps and frontier molecular orbital energy levels. For nonfullerene acceptors, a ladder-type fused ring is usually used as the central core which is an essential building block to tailor the bandgaps and energy levels. Although many fused ring systems have been explored for efficient nonfullerene acceptors, ladder-type angular-shape dithienonaphthalene is seldom reported as the donor unit for nonfullerene acceptors. Furthermore, the impact of thiophene bridge on the optical and photovoltaic properties of the dithienonaphthalene-based nonfullerene acceptors has never been reported. In this context, we report on the design and synthesis of a dithienonaphthalene-based small-molecule acceptor which contains thiophene bridges in between the acceptor terminals and the fused-ring donor core. Compared to the dithienonaphthalene-based small-molecule without the thiophene bridges, the resulting acceptor (DTNIT) exhibits a reduced bandgap of 1.52 eV which makes it more suitable to be blended with the benchmark large bandgap copolymer, poly[(2, 6-(4, 8-bis(5-(2-ethylhexyl)thiophen-2-yl)-benzo[1, 2-b: 4, 5-b']dithiophene))-alt-(5, 5-(1', 3'-di-2-thienyl-5', 7'-bis(2-ethylhexyl)benzo[1', 2'-c:4', 5'-c']dithiophene-4, 8-dione)] (PBDB-T). The reduced band-gap of the resulting nonfullerene acceptor can be attributed to its extended π-conjugation in comparison with the dithienonaphthalene-based acceptor without the thiophene bridges. Inverted polymer solar cells with a device configuration of indium tin oxide/ZnO/PBDB-T:DTNIT/MoO3/Ag were fabricated and characterized. Polymer solar cells based on PBDB-T:DTNIT showed an open circuit voltage of 0.91 V, an enhanced short circuit current of 14.42 mA∙cm−2, and a moderate PCE of 7.05% which is comparable to the PCE of 7.12% for the inverted device based on PBDB-T:PC71BM. Our results not only provide a method to synthesize efficient nonfullerene acceptors with reduced bandgaps, but also offer a bandgap modulation strategy for nonfullerene acceptors.

Key words: Dithienonaphthalene, Nonfullerene, Organic solar cell, Bandgap, Power conversion efficiency