Article | Published:

High fabrication yield organic tandem photovoltaics combining vacuum- and solution-processed subcells with 15% efficiency

Nature Energyvolume 3pages422427 (2018) | Download Citation

Subjects

Abstract

Multijunction solar cells are effective for increasing the power conversion efficiency beyond that of single-junction cells. Indeed, the highest solar cell efficiencies have been achieved using two or more subcells to adequately cover the solar spectrum. However, the efficiencies of organic multijunction solar cells are ultimately limited by the lack of high-performance, near-infrared absorbing organic subcells within the stack. Here, we demonstrate a tandem cell with an efficiency of 15.0 ± 0.3% (for 2 mm2 cells) that combines a solution-processed non-fullerene-acceptor-based infrared absorbing subcell on a visible-absorbing fullerene-based subcell grown by vacuum thermal evaporation. The hydrophilic–hydrophobic interface within the charge-recombination zone that connects the two subcells leads to >95% fabrication yield among more than 130 devices, and with areas up to 1 cm2. The ability to stack solution-based on vapour-deposited cells provides significant flexibility in design over the current, all-vapour-deposited multijunction structures.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Additional information

Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

References

  1. 1.

    Darling, S. B. & You, F. The case for organic photovoltaics. RSC Adv. 3, 17633–17648 (2013).

  2. 2.

    Peumans, P., Yakimov, A. & Forrest, S. R. Small molecular weight organic thin-film photodetectors and solar cells. J. Appl. Phys. 93, 3693–3723 (2003).

  3. 3.

    Kalowekamo, J. & Baker, E. Estimating the manufacturing cost of purely organic solar cells. Sol. Energy 83, 1224–1231 (2009).

  4. 4.

    Zhang, J., Zhu, L. & Wei, Z. Toward over 15% power conversion efficiency for organic solar cells: current status and perspectives. Small Methods 1, 1700258 (2017).

  5. 5.

    Noma, N., Tsuzuki, T. & Shirota, Y. α-Thiophene octamer as a new class of photo-active material for photoelectrical conversion. Adv. Mater. 7, 647–648 (1995).

  6. 6.

    Peumans, P., Bulović, V. & Forrest, S. R. Efficient photon harvesting at high optical intensities in ultrathin organic double-heterostructure photovoltaic diodes. Appl. Phys. Lett. 76, 2650–2652 (2000).

  7. 7.

    Yu, G., Gao, J., Hummelen, J. C., Wudl, F. & Heeger, A. J. Polymer photovoltaic cells: enhanced efficiencies via a network of internal donor–acceptor heterojunctions. Science 270, 1789–1791 (1995).

  8. 8.

    Peumans, P. & Forrest, S. R. Very-high-efficiency double-heterostructure copper phthalocyanine/C60 photovoltaic cells. Appl. Phys. Lett. 79, 126–128 (2001).

  9. 9.

    Zhao, W. et al. Molecular optimization enables over 13% efficiency in organic solar cells. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 139, 7148–7151 (2017).

  10. 10.

    Hong, Z., Dou, L., Li, G. & Yang, Y. in Progress in High-Efficient Solution Process Organic Photovoltaic Devices (eds Yang, Y. & Li, G.) Ch. 11 (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2015).

  11. 11.

    Che, X., Xiao, X., Zimmerman, J. D., Fan, D. & Forrest, S. R. High-efficiency, vacuum-deposited, small-molecule organic tandem and triple-junction photovoltaic cells. Adv. Energy Mater. 4, 1400568 (2014).

  12. 12.

    You, J. et al. A polymer tandem solar cell with 10.6% power conversion efficiency. Nat. Commun. 4, 1446 (2013).

  13. 13.

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

  14. 14.

    Cui, Y. et al. Fine-tuned photoactive and interconnection layers for achieving over 13% efficiency in a fullerene-free tandem organic solar cell. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 139, 7302–7309 (2017).

  15. 15.

    Cui, Y. et al. Efficient semitransparent organic solar cells with tunable color enabled by an ultralow-bandgap nonfullerene acceptor. Adv. Mater. 29, 1703080 (2017).

  16. 16.

    Li, Y. et al. High efficiency near-infrared and semitransparent non-fullerene acceptor organic photovoltaic cells. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 139, 17114–17119 (2017).

  17. 17.

    Rand, B. P., Peumans, P. & Forrest, S. R. Long-range absorption enhancement in organic tandem thin-film solar cells containing silver nanoclusters. J. Appl. Phys. 96, 7519–7526 (2004).

  18. 18.

    Griffith, O. L. et al. Charge transport and exciton dissociation in organic solar cells consisting of dipolar donors mixed with C70. Phys. Rev. B 92, 085404 (2015).

  19. 19.

    Chen, Y.-H. et al. Vacuum-deposited small-molecule organic solar cells with high power conversion efficiencies by judicious molecular design and device optimization. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 134, 13616–13623 (2012).

  20. 20.

    Che, X. et al. Regioisomeric effects of donor–acceptor–acceptor′ small-molecule donors on the open circuit voltage of organic photovoltaics. Adv. Mater. 28, 8248–8255 (2016).

  21. 21.

    Tang, M. L., Oh, J. H., Reichardt, A. D. & Bao, Z. Chlorination: a general route toward electron transport in organic semiconductors. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131, 3733–3740 (2009).

  22. 22.

    Bartynski, A. N. et al. A fullerene-based organic exciton blocking layer with high electron conductivity. Nano Lett. 13, 3315–3320 (2013).

  23. 23.

    Green, M. A. et al. Solar cell efficiency tables (version 51). Progress. Photovolt. Res. Appl. 26, 3–12 (2018).

  24. 24.

    Xi, J. Q. et al. Very low-refractive-index optical thin films consisting of an array of SiO2 nanorods. Opt. Lett. 31, 601–603 (2006).

  25. 25.

    Slootsky, M. & Forrest, S. R. Enhancing waveguided light extraction in organic LEDs using an ultra-low-index grid. Opt. Lett. 35, 1052–1054 (2010).

  26. 26.

    Giebink, N. C., Wiederrecht, G. P., Wasielewski, M. R. & Forrest, S. R. Thermodynamic efficiency limit of excitonic solar cells. Phys. Rev. B 83, 195326 (2011).

  27. 27.

    Liu, J. et al. Fast charge separation in a non-fullerene organic solar cell with a small driving force. Nat. Energy 1, 16089 (2016).

  28. 28.

    Li, Y. et al. Non-fullerene acceptor with low energy loss and high external quantum efficiency: towards high performance polymer solar cells. J. Mater. Chem. A 4, 5890–5897 (2016).

  29. 29.

    Lassiter, B. E., Zimmerman, J. D., Panda, A., Xiao, X. & Forrest, S. R. Tandem organic photovoltaics using both solution and vacuum deposited small molecules. Appl. Phys. Lett. 101, 063303 (2012).

  30. 30.

    Lassiter, B. E., Renshaw, C. K. & Forrest, S. R. Understanding tandem organic photovoltaic cell performance. J. Appl. Phys. 113, 214505 (2013).

  31. 31.

    Moriarty, T., Jablonski, J. & Emery, K. Algorithm for building a spectrum for NREL’s One-Sun Multi-Source Simulator in 38th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference 13055367 (IEEE, New York, 2012).

Download references

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the SunShot Program of the Department of Energy under award no. DE-EE0006708 (X.C., experiment, analysis; S.R.F., analysis) and the Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research, under award no. N00014-17-1-2211 (Y.L. and Y.Q, experiment and analysis). We thank T. Moriarty and D. Levi from NREL for the photovoltaic device performance calibration service.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Applied Physics Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

    • Xiaozhou Che
    •  & Stephen R. Forrest
  2. Departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

    • Yongxi Li
    • , Yue Qu
    •  & Stephen R. Forrest
  3. Department of Physics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

    • Stephen R. Forrest

Authors

  1. Search for Xiaozhou Che in:

  2. Search for Yongxi Li in:

  3. Search for Yue Qu in:

  4. Search for Stephen R. Forrest in:

Contributions

X.C. designed and fabricated all the solar cell samples, conducted the measurements and performed data analysis. Y.L. contributed to the non-fullerene acceptor-based subcell design and data analysis. Y.Q. designed and helped fabricate and characterize the antireflecting coating structure. S.R.F. supervised the project and analysed data. X.C. and S.R.F. prepared the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stephen R. Forrest.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Figures 1–7, Supplementary Table 2, Supplementary References

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-018-0134-z