Interface property-functionality interplay suppresses bimolecular recombination facilitating above 18% efficiency organic solar cells embracing simplistic fabrication

Top Archie Dela Peña, Ruijie Ma, Zengshan Xing, Qi Wei, Jafar I. Khan, Ryan Michael Young, Yulong Hai, Sheena Anne Garcia, Xinhui Zou, Zijing Jin, Fai Lun Ng, King Lun Yeung, Dayne F. Swearer, Michael R. Wasielewski, Jiannong Wang, Hyojung Cha, He Yan, Kam Sing Wong, Gang Li, Mingjie LiJiaying Wu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Efficient exciton-to-charge generation from the introduction of non-fullerene acceptors (NFAs) has been an important breakthrough in organic solar cell (OSC) developments. However, low device fill factors (FFs) following significant free charge carrier recombination loss continue to undermine their marketplace potential. Previous studies have successfully uncovered the importance of donor and acceptor domains in promoting charge transport. However, the functionality of donor/acceptor (D/A) interfaces relevant to free charge recombination remains unclear despite such interfaces being present throughout the material. In this work, the disorder-induced uphill bulk-to-D/A interface transport energy landscape is unveiled to enhance the polaron recombination resistance thereby also mitigating the triplet state formation from back charge transfer. In simple words, increasing the interface disorder while keeping the purer domains highly ordered will impart greater bulk-to-interface differential energy which then serves as a recombination energy barrier. Herein, these are made possible by varying the NFA outer side chains from linear alkyls to bulkier 2D phenylalkyls which influence the donor-acceptor interaction and define the interfacial disorder. Meanwhile, the extent of interface disorder without tradeoff in geminate losses is dependent on electrostatics and nanomorphology driving efficient exciton dissociation. By understanding these interplays, remarkable FFs over 80% and power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) above 18% are revealed to remain accessible even with simple binary component device fabrication without additional components/treatments thereby maintaining the scalability. Consequently, the principles uncovered here will serve as the foundation to reach the optimum potential of binary and simple systems, a prerequisite to ultimately realize the most cost-effective OSC design strategies for practical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3416-3429
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution


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