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Dichotomous Role of Exciting the Donor or the Acceptor on Charge Generation in Organic Solar Cells

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journal contribution
posted on 25.07.2016, 00:00 by Koen H. Hendriks, Alexandra S. G. Wijpkema, Jacobus J. van Franeker, Martijn M. Wienk, René A. J. Janssen
In organic solar cells, photoexcitation of the donor or acceptor phase can result in different efficiencies for charge generation. We investigate this difference for four different 2-pyridyl diketopyrrolopyrrole (DPP) polymer–fullerene solar cells. By comparing the external quantum efficiency spectra of the polymer solar cells fabricated with either [60]­PCBM or [70]­PCBM fullerene derivatives as acceptor, the efficiency of charge generation via donor excitation and acceptor excitation can both be quantified. Surprisingly, we find that to make charge transfer efficient, the offset in energy between the HOMO levels of donor and acceptor that govern charge transfer after excitation of the acceptor must be larger by ∼0.3 eV than the offset between the corresponding two LUMO levels when the donor is excited. As a consequence, the driving force required for efficient charge generation is significantly higher for excitation of the acceptor than for excitation of the donor. By comparing charge generation for a total of 16 different DPP polymers, we confirm that the minimal driving force, expressed as the photon energy loss, differs by about 0.3 eV for exciting the donor and exciting the acceptor. Marcus theory may explain the dichotomous role of exciting the donor or the acceptor on charge generation in these solar cells.