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Chem Soc Rev. 2013 Mar 7;42(5):2039-58. doi: 10.1039/c2cs35346f. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Organic sensitizers from D-π-A to D-A-π-A: effect of the internal electron-withdrawing units on molecular absorption, energy levels and photovoltaic performances.

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Shanghai Key Laboratory of Functional Materials Chemistry, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai 200237, PR China.


The high performance and low cost of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) have drawn great interest from both academic and industrial circles. The research on exploring novel efficient sensitizers, especially on inexpensive metal-free pure organic dyes, has never been suspended. The donor-π bridge-acceptor (D-π-A) configuration is mainstream in the design of organic sensitizers due to its convenient modulation of the intramolecular charge-transfer nature. Recently, it has been found that incorporation of additional electron-withdrawing units (such as benzothiadiazole, benzotriazole, quinoxaline, phthalimide, diketopyrrolopyrrole, thienopyrazine, thiazole, triazine, cyanovinyl, cyano- and fluoro-substituted phenyl) into the π bridge as internal acceptors, termed the D-A-π-A configuration, displays several advantages such as tuning of the molecular energy levels, red-shift of the charge-transfer absorption band, and distinct improvement of photovoltaic performance and stability. We apply the D-A-π-A concept broadly to the organic sensitizers containing additional electron-withdrawing units between electron donors and acceptors. This review is projected to summarize the category of pure organic sensitizers on the basis of the D-A-π-A feature. By comparing the structure-property relationship of typical photovoltaic D-A-π-A dyes, the important guidelines in the design of such materials are highlighted.

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