Review Article | Published:

Non-fullerene acceptors for organic solar cells

Nature Reviews Materials volume 3, Article number: 18003 (2018) | Download Citation

Abstract

Non-fullerene acceptors (NFAs) are currently a major focus of research in the development of bulk-heterojunction organic solar cells (OSCs). In contrast to the widely used fullerene acceptors (FAs), the optical properties and electronic energy levels of NFAs can be readily tuned. NFA-based OSCs can also achieve greater thermal stability and photochemical stability, as well as longer device lifetimes, than their FA-based counterparts. Historically, the performance of NFA OSCs has lagged behind that of fullerene devices. However, recent developments have led to a rapid increase in power conversion efficiencies for NFA OSCs, with values now exceeding 13%, demonstrating the viability of using NFAs to replace FAs in next-generation high-performance OSCs. This Review discusses the important work that has led to this remarkable progress, focusing on the two most promising NFA classes to date: rylene diimide-based materials and materials based on fused aromatic cores with strong electron-accepting end groups. The key structure–property relationships, donor–acceptor matching criteria and aspects of device physics are discussed. Finally, we consider the remaining challenges and promising future directions for the NFA OSCs field.

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Acknowledgements

X.Z. acknowledges support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos 21734001 and 51761165023). S.B. and S.R.M. acknowledge support from the US Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research (Grant No. N00014-14-1-0580 (CAOP MURI)). Z.W. acknowledges support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 21734009). H.Y. acknowledges support from the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant Nos 2013CB834701 and 2014CB643501) and the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission (Grant Nos ITC-CNERC14SC01 and ITS/083/15). A.K.-Y.J. acknowledges support from the US Office of Naval Research (Grant No. N00014-17-1-2201) and the Asian Office of Aerospace R&D (Grant No. FA2386-15-1-4106).

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Affiliations

  1. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, Key Laboratory of Polymer Chemistry and Physics of Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing, China.

    • Cenqi Yan
    •  & Xiaowei Zhan
  2. School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA.

    • Stephen Barlow
    •  & Seth R. Marder
  3. MOE Key Laboratory of Organic Optoelectronics and Molecular Engineering, Department of Chemistry, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.

    • Zhaohui Wang
  4. Department of Chemistry and Hong Kong Branch of Chinese National Engineering Research Center for Tissue Restoration and Reconstruction, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China.

    • He Yan
  5. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.

    • Alex K.-Y. Jen

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Contributions

C.Y., S.B., Z.W., H.Y. and X.Z. researched data for the article. All authors contributed to the writing and editing of the article before submission.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Correspondence to Xiaowei Zhan.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/natrevmats.2018.3