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Synthesis of Conjugates and Their Applications for Solar Cells

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Materials Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2023) | Viewed by 10184

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Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan
Interests: dye-sensitized solar cells; electrochemistry; hole-transporting materials; porphyrins; organic dyes; organic solar cells
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The increasing environmental pollution, global warming, population, and energy demands have pushed developments of new technology for a variety of renewable energy, e.g., sunlight, wind, hydropower, wave power, and geothermal heat. Among these renewables, solar energy is the most viable and abundant source of energy on Earth. Today, photovoltaic (PV) systems, with an annual growth rate > 20%, have been widely used to convert solar energy to electricity. Silicon-based PVs are considered as the most matured solar cells with a power conversion efficiency (PCE) over 20% for industrially produced solar modules. However, silicon-based solar cells have several drawbacks including low flexibility, requirement of high purity silicon, and employment of energy-intensive process, thus cost-effective, ease-fabricated, and/or solution-processable technologies of solar cells have become emerging candidates for solar energy harvesting and conversion.

Materials based on both organic and inorganic compounds with p-conjugated backbones have been widely used in new generation of solar cells, i.e., organic, dye-sensitized, and perovskite solar cells. Molecular modification of organic/inorganic conjugates provides an effective way to tune their rigidity, conjugation length, intermolecular interactions, optical, chemical, electrochemical and physical properties, thus the power conversion efficiency of devices.

This Special Issue focuses on the synthesis, applications and theoretical calculations of conjugates including, but not limited, areas of the following:

  • Sensitizers for organic and dye-sensitized solar cells;
  • Materials for defect passivation, hole/electron transporting for perovskite solar cells;
  • Molecular engineering to improve the efficiency of solar cells; 
  • Machine learning-assisted molecular design for new generation of solar cells.

Prof. Dr. Chen-Yu Yeh
Guest Editor

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Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 7874 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Correlation between Electrolyte Concentration and Electrochemical Properties of Ionogels
by Ji Wei Suen, Naveen Kumar Elumalai, Sujan Debnath, Nabisab Mujawar Mubarak, Chye Ing Lim, Mohan Reddy Moola, Yee Seng Tan and Mohammad Khalid
Molecules 2023, 28(13), 5192; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28135192 - 4 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1176
Abstract
Ionogels are hybrid materials comprising an ionic liquid confined within a polymer matrix. They have garnered significant interest due to their unique properties, such as high ionic conductivity, mechanical stability, and wide electrochemical stability. These properties make ionogels suitable for various applications, including [...] Read more.
Ionogels are hybrid materials comprising an ionic liquid confined within a polymer matrix. They have garnered significant interest due to their unique properties, such as high ionic conductivity, mechanical stability, and wide electrochemical stability. These properties make ionogels suitable for various applications, including energy storage devices, sensors, and solar cells. However, optimizing the electrochemical performance of ionogels remains a challenge, as the relationship between specific capacitance, ionic conductivity, and electrolyte solution concentration is yet to be fully understood. In this study, we investigate the impact of electrolyte solution concentration on the electrochemical properties of ionogels to identify the correlation for enhanced performance. Our findings demonstrate a clear relationship between the specific capacitance and ionic conductivity of ionogels, which depends on the availability of mobile ions. The reduced number of ions at low electrolyte solution concentrations leads to decreased ionic conductivity and specific capacitance due to the scarcity of a double layer, constraining charge storage capacity. However, at a 31 vol% electrolyte solution concentration, an ample quantity of ions becomes accessible, resulting in increased ionic conductivity and specific capacitance, reaching maximum values of 58 ± 1.48 μS/cm and 45.74 F/g, respectively. Furthermore, the synthesized ionogel demonstrates a wide electrochemical stability of 3.5 V, enabling diverse practical applications. This study provides valuable insights into determining the optimal electrolyte solution concentration for enhancing ionogel electrochemical performance for energy applications. It highlights the impact of ion pairs and aggregates on ion mobility within ionogels, subsequently affecting their resultant electrochemical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis of Conjugates and Their Applications for Solar Cells)
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14 pages, 3373 KiB  
Article
Linear-Shaped Low-Bandgap Asymmetric Conjugated Donor Molecule for Fabrication of Bulk Heterojunction Small-Molecule Organic Solar Cells
by Abdullah, Sei-Jin Lee, Jong Bae Park, Yang Soo Kim, Hyung-Shik Shin, Ashique Kotta, Qamar Tabrez Siddiqui, Youn-Sik Lee and Hyung-Kee Seo
Molecules 2023, 28(4), 1538; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28041538 - 5 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1718
Abstract
A linear–shaped small organic molecule (E)-4-(5-(3,5-dimethoxy-styryl)thiophen-2-yl)-7-(5″-hexyl-[2,2′:5′,2″-terthiophen]-5-yl)benzo[c][1,2,5]thiadiazole (MBTR) comprising a benzothiadiazole (BTD) acceptor linked with the terminal donors bithiophene and dimethoxy vinylbenzene through a π-bridge thiophene was synthesized and analyzed. The MBTR efficiently tuned the thermal, absorption, and emission characteristics to enhance the molecular [...] Read more.
A linear–shaped small organic molecule (E)-4-(5-(3,5-dimethoxy-styryl)thiophen-2-yl)-7-(5″-hexyl-[2,2′:5′,2″-terthiophen]-5-yl)benzo[c][1,2,5]thiadiazole (MBTR) comprising a benzothiadiazole (BTD) acceptor linked with the terminal donors bithiophene and dimethoxy vinylbenzene through a π-bridge thiophene was synthesized and analyzed. The MBTR efficiently tuned the thermal, absorption, and emission characteristics to enhance the molecular packing and aggregation behaviors in the solid state. The obtained optical bandgap of 1.86 eV and low-lying highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) level of −5.42 eV efficiently lowered the energy losses in the fabricated devices, thereby achieving enhanced photovoltaic performances. The optimized MBTR:PC71BM (1:2.5 w/w%) fullerene-based devices showed a maximum power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 7.05%, with an open-circuit voltage (VOC) of 0.943 V, short-circuit current density (JSC) of 12.63 mA/cm2, and fill factor (FF) of 59.2%. With the addition of 3% 1,8-diiodooctane (DIO), the PCE improved to 8.76% with a high VOC of 1.02 V, JSC of 13.78 mA/cm2, and FF of 62.3%, which are associated with improved charge transport at the donor/acceptor interfaces owing to the fibrous active layer morphology and favorable phase separation. These results demonstrate that the introduction of suitable donor/acceptor groups in molecular design and device engineering is an effective approach to enhancing the photovoltaic performances of organic solar cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis of Conjugates and Their Applications for Solar Cells)
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Review

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46 pages, 20060 KiB  
Review
Progress and Future Potential of All-Small-Molecule Organic Solar Cells Based on the Benzodithiophene Donor Material
by Shabaz Alam and Jaewon Lee
Molecules 2023, 28(7), 3171; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28073171 - 2 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3802
Abstract
Organic solar cells have obtained a prodigious amount of attention in photovoltaic research due to their unique features of light weight, low cost, eco-friendliness, and semitransparency. A rising trend in this field is the development of all-small-molecules organic solar cells (ASM-OSCs) due to [...] Read more.
Organic solar cells have obtained a prodigious amount of attention in photovoltaic research due to their unique features of light weight, low cost, eco-friendliness, and semitransparency. A rising trend in this field is the development of all-small-molecules organic solar cells (ASM-OSCs) due to their merits of excellent batch-to-batch reproducibility, well-defined structures, and simple purification. Among the numerous organic photovoltaic (OPV) materials, benzodithiophene (BDT)-based small molecules have come to the fore in achieving outstanding power conversion efficiency (PCE) and breaking the 17% efficiency barrier in single-junction OPV devices, indicating the significant potential of this class of materials in commercial photovoltaic applications. This review specially focuses on up-to-date information about improvements in BDT-based ASM-OSCs since 2011 and provides an outlook on the most significant challenges that remain in the field. We believe there will be more exciting BDT-based photovoltaic materials and devices developed in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis of Conjugates and Their Applications for Solar Cells)
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37 pages, 8201 KiB  
Review
Effect of Chemical Bath Deposition Variables on the Properties of Zinc Sulfide Thin Films: A Review
by Akmal Zaini Arsad, Ahmad Wafi Mahmood Zuhdi, Siti Fazlili Abdullah, Chien Fat Chau, Azrul Ghazali, Ibrahim Ahmad and Wan Syakirah Wan Abdullah
Molecules 2023, 28(6), 2780; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28062780 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3033
Abstract
Zinc sulfide (ZnS) thin films prepared using the chemical bath deposition (CBD) method have demonstrated great viability in various uses, encompassing photonics, field emission devices, field emitters, sensors, electroluminescence devices, optoelectronic devices, and are crucial as buffer layers of solar cells. These semiconducting [...] Read more.
Zinc sulfide (ZnS) thin films prepared using the chemical bath deposition (CBD) method have demonstrated great viability in various uses, encompassing photonics, field emission devices, field emitters, sensors, electroluminescence devices, optoelectronic devices, and are crucial as buffer layers of solar cells. These semiconducting thin films for industrial and research applications are popular among researchers. CBD appears attractive due to its simplicity, cost-effectiveness, low energy consumption, low-temperature compatibility, and superior uniformity for large-area deposition. However, numerous parameters influence the CBD mechanism and the quality of the thin films. This study offers a comprehensive review of the impact of various parameters that can affect different properties of ZnS films grown on CBD. This paper provides an extensive review of the film growth and structural and optical properties of ZnS thin films influenced by various parameters, which include complexing agents, the concentration ratio of the reactants, stirring speed, humidity, deposition temperature, deposition time, pH value, precursor types, and annealing temperature environments. Various studies screened the key influences on the CBD parameters concerning the quality of the resulting films. This work will motivate researchers to provide additional insight into the preparation of ZnS thin films using CBD to optimize this deposition method to its fullest potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis of Conjugates and Their Applications for Solar Cells)
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