Intrinsic non-radiative voltage losses in fullerene-based organic solar cells

Johannes Benduhn, Kristofer Tvingstedt, Fortunato Piersimoni, Sascha Ullbrich, Yeli Fan, Manuel Tropiano, Kathryn A. McGarry, Olaf Zeika, Moritz K. Riede, Christopher J Douglas, Stephen Barlow, Seth R. Marder, Dieter Neher, Donato Spoltore, Koen Vandewal

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493 Scopus citations

Abstract

Organic solar cells demonstrate external quantum eciencies and fill factors approaching those of conventional photovoltaic technologies. However, as compared with the optical gap of the absorber materials, their open-circuit voltage is much lower, largely due to the presence of significant non-radiative recombination. Here, we study a large data set of published and new material combinations and find that non-radiative voltage losses decrease with increasing charge-transfer-state energies. This observation is explained by considering non-radiative charge-transfer-state decay as electron transfer in the Marcus inverted regime, being facilitated by a common skeletal molecular vibrational mode. Our results suggest an intrinsic link between non-radiative voltage losses and electron-vibration coupling, indicating that these losses are unavoidable. Accordingly, the theoretical upper limit for the power conversion effciency of single-junction organic solar cells would be reduced to about 25.5% and the optimal optical gap increases to (1.45-1.65) eV, that is, (0.20.3) eV higher than for technologies with minimized non-radiative voltage losses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17053
JournalNature Energy
Volume2
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

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