Comparing the microstructure and photovoltaic performance of 3 perylene imide acceptors with similar energy levels but different packing tendencies
While it is widely recognized that microstructure plays an important role in the performance of organic photovoltaics (OPV), systematic studies are often challenging, as varying the molecular packing through typical chemical means (such as sidechain tuning) often affects the molecular energy levels, thus preventing a clear correlation. In this work we present the synthesis of three perylene imide (PI) based electron acceptors with almost identical energy levels, but distinct packing tendencies. We confirm our initial hypothesis by measuring solution and solid-state absorption, and cyclic voltammetry as well as characterizing the films by grazing incidence wide angle X-ray scattering (GIWAXS). In a second step, we repeat the characterization of the three materials in blends with two polymer donors, namely PCDTBT or PBDBT, whose energy levels are well aligned with those of the PI acceptors, and which, additionally, exhibit different degrees of structural order. We show how the initial strong difference between acceptors is partially blurred in blends, but still critical. Finally, we correlate our structural data with OPV devices made with the corresponding six blends. Our data suggest that a good donor acceptor marriage should ensure good energy alignment but also exhibit complementary crystallization tendencies of the two components.
Funding for this research was provided by: Agencia de Innovación y Desarrollo de Andalucía (UMA18-FEDERJA-080) Universidad Complutense de Madrid (CT20/19-CT21/19/PEJD-2018-POST/IND-8661PAI, INV.GR.00.1819.10759) Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (CEX2019-000917-S, PGC2018-095411-B-I00, PID2019- 106268GB-C33, PID2019-110305GB-I00) European Commission (722651)
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