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How does polymorphism affect the interfacial charge-transfer states in organic photovoltaics?

How does polymorphism affect the interfacial charge-transfer states in organic photovoltaics?
How does polymorphism affect the interfacial charge-transfer states in organic photovoltaics?
The bulk heterojunction in organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices is a mixture of polymer (electron donor) and an electron acceptor material (typically functionalized fullerenes), and it is crucial for the device operation, as this is where excitons are split into electrons and holes to produce current. Non-fullerene acceptors (NFAs) are promising new materials for improving the device efficiency, and their solid-state arrangement with respect to the electron donor polymer is critical for the charge mobility and the performance of OPV devices. Although there have been numerous studies on NFAs, most of the current understanding comes from empirical considerations, with little atomistic-level interpretation of why and how the packing influences the charge transport properties of these materials. In this work we describe large-scale (with up to 3462 atoms) DFT simulations for ground and excited states on a number of polymer-NFA interfaces of realistic size, whose NFA domains consist of polymorphs of the same materials. Hence, we bridged the gap between experimental evidence and the intuitive expectation on the importance of intermolecular π-π stacking interactions in the NFA phase. We show that low connectivity leads to highly localized excitons, whereas in phases with a higher connectivity excitons are able to delocalize over multiple directions. Remarkably, excitons with a three-dimensional delocalization were also observed, leading to isotropic mobilities, similarly to fullerenes. Furthermore, a lower charge-transfer exciton binding energy and a lower energy loss between the lowest excitation of the polymer and the first charge-transfer state in the interface were both observed in systems characterized by a highly interconnected NFA phase. This suggests a higher probability of exciton splitting for these interfaces, which could potentially lead to higher device efficiencies.
1932-7447
Boschetto, Gabriele
4b29b31b-e76f-42fe-8b1f-b0556149fb32
Krompiec, Michal
c5280165-053d-422d-8872-ae612852d773
Skylaris, Chris-Kriton
8f593d13-3ace-4558-ba08-04e48211af61
Boschetto, Gabriele
4b29b31b-e76f-42fe-8b1f-b0556149fb32
Krompiec, Michal
c5280165-053d-422d-8872-ae612852d773
Skylaris, Chris-Kriton
8f593d13-3ace-4558-ba08-04e48211af61

Boschetto, Gabriele, Krompiec, Michal and Skylaris, Chris-Kriton (2019) How does polymorphism affect the interfacial charge-transfer states in organic photovoltaics? The Journal of Physical Chemistry C. (doi:10.1021/acs.jpcc.9b07709).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The bulk heterojunction in organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices is a mixture of polymer (electron donor) and an electron acceptor material (typically functionalized fullerenes), and it is crucial for the device operation, as this is where excitons are split into electrons and holes to produce current. Non-fullerene acceptors (NFAs) are promising new materials for improving the device efficiency, and their solid-state arrangement with respect to the electron donor polymer is critical for the charge mobility and the performance of OPV devices. Although there have been numerous studies on NFAs, most of the current understanding comes from empirical considerations, with little atomistic-level interpretation of why and how the packing influences the charge transport properties of these materials. In this work we describe large-scale (with up to 3462 atoms) DFT simulations for ground and excited states on a number of polymer-NFA interfaces of realistic size, whose NFA domains consist of polymorphs of the same materials. Hence, we bridged the gap between experimental evidence and the intuitive expectation on the importance of intermolecular π-π stacking interactions in the NFA phase. We show that low connectivity leads to highly localized excitons, whereas in phases with a higher connectivity excitons are able to delocalize over multiple directions. Remarkably, excitons with a three-dimensional delocalization were also observed, leading to isotropic mobilities, similarly to fullerenes. Furthermore, a lower charge-transfer exciton binding energy and a lower energy loss between the lowest excitation of the polymer and the first charge-transfer state in the interface were both observed in systems characterized by a highly interconnected NFA phase. This suggests a higher probability of exciton splitting for these interfaces, which could potentially lead to higher device efficiencies.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 1 October 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 434879
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/434879
ISSN: 1932-7447
PURE UUID: 961abaf2-c07b-486d-acb5-52a682fc04ac
ORCID for Gabriele Boschetto: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8830-3572
ORCID for Chris-Kriton Skylaris: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0258-3433

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Date deposited: 15 Oct 2019 16:30
Last modified: 22 Nov 2021 07:44

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Contributors

Author: Gabriele Boschetto ORCID iD
Author: Michal Krompiec

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