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Polymer Solar Cells With Enhanced Open-circuit Voltage And Efficiency

Hsiang‐Yu Chen, Jianhui Hou, Shaoqing Zhang, Yongye Liang, Guanwen Yang, Y. Yang, Luping Yu, Yue Wu, Gang Li
Published 2009 · Materials Science

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Following the development of the bulk heterojunction1 structure, recent years have seen a dramatic improvement in the efficiency of polymer solar cells. Maximizing the open-circuit voltage in a low-bandgap polymer is one of the critical factors towards enabling high-efficiency solar cells. Study of the relation between open-circuit voltage and the energy levels of the donor/acceptor2 in bulk heterojunction polymer solar cells has stimulated interest in modifying the open-circuit voltage by tuning the energy levels of polymers3. Here, we show that the open-circuit voltage of polymer solar cells constructed based on the structure of a low-bandgap polymer, PBDTTT4, can be tuned, step by step, using different functional groups, to achieve values as high as 0.76 V. This increased open-circuit voltage combined with a high short-circuit current density results in a polymer solar cell with a power conversion efficiency as high as 6.77%, as certified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Adding electron-withdrawing groups to the backbone of the polymer PBDTTT is shown to increase the open-circuit voltage of photovoltaic cells, resulting in a polymer solar-cell that has a certified power-conversion efficiency of 6.77%.
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