Design and Synthesis of Conjugated Molecules for Band Gap Engineering and Photostability of OPVs
Organic photovoltaic (OPV) modules are flexible, light weight, transparent and thin compared to other emerging photovoltaic technologies, making them well-suited for applications ranging from solar windows to fabrics. A large number of polymer semiconducting materials of Donor-Acceptor–Donor (D-A-D) architecture have been synthesized and used in OPV devices in recent times reaching remarkable power conversion efficiencies up to 15%. However, the diversity of monomeric units and the numerous available reports in the structural complexity of D-A-D conjugated p-type polymers indicate that there is scope for new materials which can further improve the performance of OPV devices based on D-A-D polymers. In this seminar presentation, I will discuss briefly about my Ph.D. thesis work. The first part of work explores structural level architecturing of conjugated small molecules and polymers to modify the performance of the OPVs. Demonstrate the effect of molecular level modification on frontier molecular energy levels, planarity, absorption spectra and device performance.
Additional to the development in power conversion efficiency of the OPVs, the cost of large area OPV device manufacture continues to decrease with improvements in roll-to-roll manufacturing processes. However, while these advances in efficiency and cost will ultimately the key to the success of the technology, the long term stability of OPV devices under illumination still remains an obstacle to their industrial viability. While the thermal and oxidative-stability of contacts and interfaces in an OPV device can contribute to a decrease in its performance with time, a leading contributor to device decay is photo-oxidation of the active layer itself.
Hence in the second part of the work, a series of chalcogen based polymers have been synthesized and the photostability of the unencapsulated active layers and the device life time has been monitored over a period of time. The thesis work has further investigated the photostability of several combinations of fluorinated and non-fluorinated high-performance donor polymers with both traditional and fluorinated fullerenes. The miscibility of the active layer component is probed with time-resolved photoluminescence (TRPL). The miscibility of the polymers and the fluorinated fullerenes were improved by the strategic fluorination of the polymers, by new synthesis routes. These results ultimately suggest that appropriate fluorination strategies applied to both the donor and acceptor can be a viable route toward a new model of intrinsically photo- and phase-stable OPV active layers.