Tuning polymer-backbone coplanarity and conformational order to achieve high-performance printed all-polymer solar cells

Yilei Wu, Yue Yuan, Diego Sorbelli, Christina Cheng, Lukas Michalek, Hao Wen Cheng, Vishal Jindal, Song Zhang, Garrett LeCroy, Enrique D. Gomez, Scott T. Milner, Alberto Salleo, Giulia Galli, John B. Asbury, Michael F. Toney, Zhenan Bao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


All-polymer solar cells (all-PSCs) offer improved morphological and mechanical stability compared with those containing small-molecule-acceptors (SMAs). They can be processed with a broader range of conditions, making them desirable for printing techniques. In this study, we report a high-performance polymer acceptor design based on bithiazole linker (PY-BTz) that are on par with SMAs. We demonstrate that bithiazole induces a more coplanar and ordered conformation compared to bithiophene due to the synergistic effect of non-covalent backbone planarization and reduced steric encumbrances. As a result, PY-BTz shows a significantly higher efficiency of 16.4% in comparison to the polymer acceptors based on commonly used thiophene-based linkers (i.e., PY-2T, 9.8%). Detailed analyses reveal that this improvement is associated with enhanced conjugation along the backbone and closer interchain π-stacking, resulting in higher charge mobilities, suppressed charge recombination, and reduced energetic disorder. Remarkably, an efficiency of 14.7% is realized for all-PSCs that are solution-sheared in ambient conditions, which is among the highest for devices prepared under conditions relevant to scalable printing techniques. This work uncovers a strategy for promoting backbone conjugation and planarization in emerging polymer acceptors that can lead to superior all-PSCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2170
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy

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