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Solution-processed organic tandem solar cells with power conversion efficiencies >12%

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An effective way to improve the power conversion efficiency of organic solar cells is to use a tandem architecture consisting of two subcells, so that a broader part of the solar spectrum can be used and the thermalization loss of photon energy can be minimized1. For a tandem cell to work well, it is important for the subcells to have complementary absorption characteristics and generate high and balanced (matched) currents. This requires a rather challenging effort to design and select suitable active materials for use in the subcells. Here, we report a high-performance solution-processed, tandem solar cell based on the small molecules DR3TSBDT and DPPEZnP-TBO, which offer efficient, complementary absorption when used as electron donor materials in the front and rear subcells, respectively. Optimized devices achieve a power conversion efficiency of 12.50% (verified 12.70%), which represents a new level of capability for solution-processed, organic solar cells.

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Figure 1: Molecular structures, photovoltaic performance of the single-junction devices and tandem device architecture.
Figure 2: Optical simulation.
Figure 3: Photovoltaic performance of the tandem solar cell.
Figure 4: Tandem device performance parameters under different light intensities.

Change history

  • 19 December 2016

    In the version of this Letter originally published online, in Fig. 1c, the bottom two values on the y axis were incorrect. This has now been corrected in all versions of the Letter.


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The authors acknowledge financial support from MoST (2014CB643502, 2016YFA0200200), NSFC (51373078, 51422304, 91433101, 51323003, 51473053) and the International Science and Technology Cooperation Program of China (2013DFG52740).

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Authors and Affiliations



M.L. fabricated and characterized the devices with help from Q.Z. K.G. synthesized the donor material DPPEZnP-TBO. B.K. synthesized the donor material DR3TSBDT. X.Y. and H.F. prepared the ZnO electron transport material. J.P. and Z.L. performed the experiments on the measurement of n and k. H.Y. performed the optical simulations. Y.Ch. and X.W. supervised and coordinated the study. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Xiangjian Wan, Xiaobin Peng or Yongsheng Chen.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Li, M., Gao, K., Wan, X. et al. Solution-processed organic tandem solar cells with power conversion efficiencies >12%. Nature Photon 11, 85–90 (2017).

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