Special Issue "Polymer-Based Solar Cells"

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Polymer Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Dong Hwan Wang
Website
Guest Editor
School of Integrative Engineering, Chung-Ang University, Seoul 06974, Korea
Interests: Organic Electronics (OPV, OPD, and Perovskite); Device Physics; Nanomaterials (Synthesis and Characterization); Nanomorphology Control; Nanopatterning; Oxide Materials; Stamping-Transfer Nanotechnology
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Today the world has serious energy problems due to various technological developments and the large energy consumption. In order to meet the exponential growth in energy demand, new energy systems must be developed to replace fossil fuels in order to limit CO2 emissions to ensure a sustainable future environment. Solar cells have been studied for a long time as a next-generation energy system owing to their promise as an environmentally friendly and infinite energy source.

Organic/inorganic and hybrid semiconductor-based electronic devices (e.g. photovoltaic cells, photo-sensors, thin film transistors, and light-emitting diodes) have the potential to provide a solution to present energy issues and to fulfil our future needs by fabricating large surface area, lightweight, and flexible panels through low-cost casting techniques.

In order to improve the performance of polymer-based solar cells, many strategies have been introduced such as: 1) synthesizing electron donor and acceptor materials with a wide absorption range; 2) higher charge carrier mobility (electrical parameters); 3) controlling the nano-morphology; 4) efficient buffer layers; 5) flexible conductive electrodes; and 6) development of new device structures and process, etc.

The aim of this Special Issue is to highlight the progress and phenomena related to organic electronic devices such as photovoltaic cells, photo-sensors, thin film transistors, and light-emitting diodes, etc. We look forward to your contribution describing your recent promising research.

Prof. Dr. Dong Hwan Wang
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Polymers is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Organic electronic devices
  • Organic/inorganic and hybrid semiconductor-based device
  • Synthetic metals and newly designed process
  • Opto-electronics
  • Photovoltaic cells
  • Photo-sensors
  • Interface control
  • Nano-morphology
  • Charge carrier dynamics
  • Flexible transparent electrode

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Acidity Suppression of Hole Transport Layer via Solution Reaction of Neutral PEDOT:PSS for Stable Perovskite Photovoltaics
Polymers 2020, 12(1), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12010129 - 06 Jan 2020
Abstract
Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene): poly(4-styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) is typically used for hole transport layers (HTLs), as it exhibits attractive mechanical, electrical properties, and easy processability. However, the intrinsically acidic property can degrade the crystallinity of perovskites, limiting the stability and efficiency of perovskite solar cells (PSCs). In [...] Read more.
Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene): poly(4-styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) is typically used for hole transport layers (HTLs), as it exhibits attractive mechanical, electrical properties, and easy processability. However, the intrinsically acidic property can degrade the crystallinity of perovskites, limiting the stability and efficiency of perovskite solar cells (PSCs). In this study, inverted CH3NH3PbI3 photovoltaic cells were fabricated with acidity suppressed HTL. We adjusted PEDOT:PSS via a solution reaction of acidic and neutral PEDOT:PSS. And we compared the various pH-controlled HTLs for PSCs devices. The smoothness of the pH-controlled PEDOT:PSS layer was similar to that of acidic PEDOT:PSS-based devices. These layers induced favorable crystallinity of perovskite compared with acidic PEDOT:PSS layers. Furthermore, the enhanced stability of pH optimized PEDOT:PSS-based devices, including the prevention of degradation by a strong acid, allowed the device to retain its power conversion efficiency (PCE) value by maintaining 80% of PCE for approximately 150 h. As a result, the pH-controlled HTL layer fabricated through the solution reaction maintained the surface morphology of the perovskite layer and contributed to the stable operation of PSCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer-Based Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle
π–π Stacking Distance and Phase Separation Controlled Efficiency in Stable All-Polymer Solar Cells
Polymers 2019, 11(10), 1665; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11101665 - 12 Oct 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The morphology of the active layer plays a crucial role in determining device performance and stability for organic solar cells. All-polymer solar cells (All-PSCs), showing robust and stable morphologies, have been proven to give better thermal stability than their fullerene counterparts. However, outstanding [...] Read more.
The morphology of the active layer plays a crucial role in determining device performance and stability for organic solar cells. All-polymer solar cells (All-PSCs), showing robust and stable morphologies, have been proven to give better thermal stability than their fullerene counterparts. However, outstanding thermal stability is not always the case for polymer blends, and the limiting factors responsible for the poor thermal stability in some All-PSCs, and how to obtain higher efficiency without losing stability, still remain unclear. By studying the morphology of poly [2,3-bis (3-octyloxyphenyl) quinoxaline-5,8-diyl-alt-thiophene-2,5-diyl](TQ1)/poly[4,8-bis[5-(2-ethylhexyl)-2-thienyl]benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b′]dithiophene-alt-(4-(2-ethylhexyl)-3-fluorothieno[3,4-b]thiophene-)-2-carboxylate-2-6-diyl]] (PCE10)/PNDI-T10 blend systems, we found that the rearranged molecular packing structure and phase separation were mainly responsible for the poor thermal stability in devices containing PCE10. The TQ1/PNDI-T10 devices exhibited an improved PCE with a decreased π–π stacking distance after thermal annealing; PCE10/PNDI-T10 devices showed a better pristine PCE, however, thermal annealing induced the increased π–π stacking distance and thus inferior hole conductivity, leading to a decreased PCE. Thus, a maximum PCE could be achieved in a TQ1/PCE10/PNDI-T10 (1/1/1) ternary system after thermal annealing resulting from their favorable molecular interaction and the trade-off of molecular packing structure variations between TQ1 and PCE10. This indicates that a route to efficient and thermal stable All-PSCs can be achieved in a ternary blend by using material with excellent pristine efficiency, combined with another material showing improved efficiency under thermal annealing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer-Based Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis and Photovoltaic Effect of Electron-Withdrawing Units for Low Band Gap Conjugated Polymers Bearing Bi(thienylenevinylene) Side Chains
Polymers 2019, 11(9), 1461; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11091461 - 06 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
A novel (E)-5-(2-(5-alkylthiothiophen-2-yl)vinyl)thien-2-yl (TVT)-comprising benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b’]dithiophene (BDT) derivative (BDT-TVT) was designed and synthetized to compose two donor-acceptor (D-A) typed copolymers (PBDT-TVT-ID and PBDT-TVT-DTNT) with the electron-withdrawing unit isoindigo (ID) and naphtho[1,2-c:5,6-c′]bis[1,2,5]thiadiazole (NT), respectively. PBDT-TVT-ID and PBDT-TVT-DTNT showed good thermal stability (360 °C), [...] Read more.
A novel (E)-5-(2-(5-alkylthiothiophen-2-yl)vinyl)thien-2-yl (TVT)-comprising benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b’]dithiophene (BDT) derivative (BDT-TVT) was designed and synthetized to compose two donor-acceptor (D-A) typed copolymers (PBDT-TVT-ID and PBDT-TVT-DTNT) with the electron-withdrawing unit isoindigo (ID) and naphtho[1,2-c:5,6-c′]bis[1,2,5]thiadiazole (NT), respectively. PBDT-TVT-ID and PBDT-TVT-DTNT showed good thermal stability (360 °C), an absorption spectrum from 300 nm to 760 nm and a relatively low lying energy level of Highest Occupied Molecular Orbital (EHOMO) (−5.36 to –5.45 eV), which could obtain a large open-circuit voltage (Voc) from photovoltaic devices with PBDT-TVT-ID or PBDT-TVT-DTNT. The photovoltaic devices with ITO/PFN/polymers: PC71BM/MoO3/Ag structure were assembled and exhibited a good photovoltaic performance with a power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 4.09% (PBDT-TVT-ID) and 5.44% (PBDT-TVT-DTNT), respectively. The best PCE of a PBDT-TVT-DTNT/PC71BM-based device mainly originated from its wider absorption, higher hole mobility and favorable photoactive layer morphology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer-Based Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis of Cyano-Substituted Conjugated Polymers for Photovoltaic Applications
Polymers 2019, 11(5), 746; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11050746 - 26 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Three conjugated polymers, in which the electron-donating (D) 5-alkylthiophene-2-yl-substitued benzodithiophene was linked to three different electron-accepting (A) moieties, i.e., benzothiadiazole (BT), diphenylquinoxaline (DPQ), and dibenzophenazine (DBP) derivative via thiophene bridge, were synthesized using the Stille coupling reaction. In particular, the strong electron-withdrawing cyano [...] Read more.
Three conjugated polymers, in which the electron-donating (D) 5-alkylthiophene-2-yl-substitued benzodithiophene was linked to three different electron-accepting (A) moieties, i.e., benzothiadiazole (BT), diphenylquinoxaline (DPQ), and dibenzophenazine (DBP) derivative via thiophene bridge, were synthesized using the Stille coupling reaction. In particular, the strong electron-withdrawing cyano (CN) group was incorporated into the A units BT, DPQ, and DBP to afford three D–A type target polymers PB–BTCN, PB–DPQCN, and PB–DBPCN, respectively. Owing to the significant contribution of the CN-substituent, these polymers exhibit not only low-lying energy levels of both the highest occupied molecular orbital and the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital, but also reduced bandgaps. Furthermore, to investigate the photovoltaic properties of polymers, inverted-type devices with the structure of ITO/ZnO/Polymer:PC71BM/MoO3/Ag were fabricated and analyzed. All the polymer solar cells based on the three cyano-substituted conjugated polymers showed high open-circuit voltages (Voc) greater than 0.89 V, and the highest power conversion efficiency of 4.59% was obtained from the device based on PB-BtCN with a Voc of 0.93 V, short-circuit current of 7.36 mA cm−2, and fill factor of 67.1%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer-Based Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling of High-Efficiency Multi-Junction Polymer and Hybrid Solar Cells to Absorb Infrared Light
Polymers 2019, 11(2), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11020383 - 22 Feb 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
In this paper, we present our work on high-efficiency multi-junction polymer and hybrid solar cells. The transfer matrix method is used for optical modeling of an organic solar cell, which was inspired by the McGehee Group in Stanford University. The software simulation calculates [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present our work on high-efficiency multi-junction polymer and hybrid solar cells. The transfer matrix method is used for optical modeling of an organic solar cell, which was inspired by the McGehee Group in Stanford University. The software simulation calculates the optimal thicknesses of the active layers to provide the best short circuit current (JSC) value. First, we show three designs of multi-junction polymer solar cells, which can absorb sunlight beyond the 1000 nm wavelengths. Then we present a novel high-efficiency hybrid (organic and inorganic) solar cell, which can absorb the sunlight with a wavelength beyond 2500 nm. Approximately 12% efficiency was obtained for the multi-junction polymer solar cell and 20% efficiency was obtained from every two-, three- and four-junction hybrid solar cell under 1 sun AM1.5 illumination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer-Based Solar Cells)
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Open AccessCommunication
PEG-assisted Sol-gel Synthesis of Compact Nickel Oxide Hole-Selective Layer with Modified Interfacial Properties for Organic Solar Cells
Polymers 2019, 11(1), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11010120 - 11 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
As a p-type metal oxide, nickel oxide (NiO) has been extensively utilized for providing a favorable hole transport pathway in organic solar cells (OSCs). To obtain higher crystallinity, a post-annealing process at high temperature is required for the NiO layer. Therefore, fluorine-doped [...] Read more.
As a p-type metal oxide, nickel oxide (NiO) has been extensively utilized for providing a favorable hole transport pathway in organic solar cells (OSCs). To obtain higher crystallinity, a post-annealing process at high temperature is required for the NiO layer. Therefore, fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) glass has been widely used for the substrate of NiO. However, the rough surface of the FTO substrate deteriorates the interfacial properties of the NiO layer, which hinders efficient charge extraction in OSCs. In this study, a facile polyethylene glycol (PEG)-assisted sol-gel synthesis of the compact NiO layer as the hole-selective layer is demonstrated. The compact NiO layer has a significantly uniform and smooth surface morphology, facilitating better interfacial properties for favorable charge transport. The modified interfacial properties outstandingly promote the charge migration and recombination blocking in OSCs. In addition, a hybrid structure with compact NiO and poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) is designed to form a cascade charge extraction and passivate possible pinholes on the NiO layer. Consequently, the compact NiO layer enhances all the parameters determining the power conversion efficiency, including the open-circuit potential (Voc), short-circuit current density (Jsc), and fill factor (FF). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer-Based Solar Cells)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Research Progress on Polymer Solar Cells Based on PEDOT:PSS Electrodes
Polymers 2020, 12(1), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12010145 - 07 Jan 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Solution-processed polymer solar cells (PSCs) have attracted dramatically increasing attention over the past few decades owing to their advantages of low cost, solution processability, light weight, and excellent flexibility. Recent progress in materials synthesis and devices engineering has boosted the power conversion efficiency [...] Read more.
Solution-processed polymer solar cells (PSCs) have attracted dramatically increasing attention over the past few decades owing to their advantages of low cost, solution processability, light weight, and excellent flexibility. Recent progress in materials synthesis and devices engineering has boosted the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of single-junction PSCs over 17%. As an emerging technology, it is still a challenge to prepare solution-processed flexible electrodes for attractive flexible PSCs. Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene): poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) is one of the most promising candidates for electrodes due to its high conductivity (>4000 S/cm), excellent transmittance (>90%), intrinsically high work function (WF > 5.0 eV), and aqueous solution processability. To date, a great number of single-junction PSCs based on PEDOT:PSS electrodes have realized a PCE over 12%. In this review, we introduce the current research on the conductive complex PEDOT:PSS as well as trace the development of PEDOT:PSS used in electrodes for high performance PSCs and perovskite solar cells. We also discuss and comment on the aspects of conductivity, transmittance, work-function adjustment, film preparing methods, and device fabrications. A perspective on the challenges and future directions in this field is be offered finally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer-Based Solar Cells)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Dr. Yang Zhao

Tentative title: singlet fission in organic solar cell materials

Dr. Dong-Wook Chang

Tentative title: new conjugated polymers for photovoltaic applications

Dr. Zaifang Li

Tentative title: PEDOT:PSS electrode based flexible polymer solar cells

Dr. Guoping Luo

Tentative title: ITO-free organic solar cells

Dr. Minjie Li

Tentative title: potential dyes design for highly efficient dye-sensitized solar cells using the quantum chemistry

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