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Polymer bulk heterojunction solar cells employing Förster resonance energy transfer

Nature Photonics volume 7, pages 479485 (2013) | Download Citation

Abstract

There are two crucial tasks for realizing high-efficiency polymer solar cells (PSCs): increasing the range of the spectral absorption of light and efficiently harvesting photogenerated excitons. Here, we describe Förster resonance energy transfer-based heterojunction polymer solar cells that incorporate squaraine dye. The high absorbance of squaraine in the near-infrared region broadens the spectral absorption of the solar cells and assists in developing an ordered nanomorphology for enhanced charge transport. Femtosecond spectroscopic studies reveal highly efficient (up to 96%) excitation energy transfer from poly(3-hexylthiophene) to squaraine occurring on a picosecond timescale. We demonstrate a 38% increase in power conversion efficiency to reach 4.5%, and suggest that this system has improved exciton migration over long distances. This architecture transcends traditional multiblend systems, allowing multiple donor materials with separate spectral responses to work synergistically, thereby enabling an improvement in light absorption and conversion. This opens up a new avenue for the development of high-efficiency polymer solar cells.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported primarily by the SOLAR program of the National Science Foundation (NSF; DMR-0934520) and the Yale Climate and Energy Institute. A.D.T. acknowledges support from a NSF-CAREER award (CBET-0954985) and NASA (CT Space Grant Consortium). Research was carried out in part at the Centre for Functional Nanomaterials, Brookhaven National Laboratory, which is supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences (contract no. DE-AC02-98CH10886). The authors thank C. Schmuttenmaer, E. Yan and S. Wang for informative discussions.

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Affiliations

  1. Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA

    • Jing-Shun Huang
    • , Tenghooi Goh
    • , Xiaokai Li
    •  & André D. Taylor
  2. Center for Functional Nanomaterials, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York 11973, USA

    • Matthew Y. Sfeir
  3. Department of Chemistry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA

    • Elizabeth A. Bielinski
    •  & Nilay Hazari
  4. Department of Electrical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA

    • Stephanie Tomasulo
    •  & Minjoo L. Lee

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Contributions

J.-S.H. and A.D.T. conceptualized the project. J.-S.H. designed and performed the device experiments and data analysis. J.-S.H., T.G. and M.Y.S. performed the ultrafast experiments and resulting data analysis. J.-S.H., T.G. and X.L. performed TEM experiments. J.-S.H., S.T. and M.L. performed the EQE experiments. E.A.B. and N.H. synthesized the SQ dye. A.D.T and J.-S.H. laid out the design of the manuscript. J.-S.H. wrote the original manuscript and all authors contributed equally towards improving it.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to André D. Taylor.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2013.82

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