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Nat Commun. 2016 Oct 26;7:13094. doi: 10.1038/ncomms13094.

Donor polymer design enables efficient non-fullerene organic solar cells.

Li Z1, Jiang K1,2, Yang G1,3, Lai JY1, Ma T1, Zhao J1, Ma W3, Yan H1,2,4.

Author information

Department of Chemistry, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
HKUST-Shenzhen Research Institute, No. 9 Yuexing 1st Road, Hi-tech Park, Nanshan, Shenzhen 518057, China.
State Key Laboratory for Mechanical Behavior of Materials, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China.
Institute of Polymer Optoelectronic Materials and Devices, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640, China.


To achieve efficient organic solar cells, the design of suitable donor-acceptor couples is crucially important. State-of-the-art donor polymers used in fullerene cells may not perform well when they are combined with non-fullerene acceptors, thus new donor polymers need to be developed. Here we report non-fullerene organic solar cells with efficiencies up to 10.9%, enabled by a novel donor polymer that exhibits strong temperature-dependent aggregation but with intentionally reduced polymer crystallinity due to the introduction of a less symmetric monomer unit. Our comparative study shows that an analogue polymer with a C2 symmetric monomer unit yields highly crystalline polymer films but less efficient non-fullerene cells. Based on a monomer with a mirror symmetry, our best donor polymer exhibits reduced crystallinity, yet such a polymer matches better with small molecular acceptors. This study provides important insights to the design of donor polymers for non-fullerene organic solar cells.

Conflict of interest statement

A patent application relevant to this work has been filed and submitted to United States Patent and Trademark Office by H.Y. and Z.L. All other authors declare no competing financial interests.

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