Materials Chemistry and Physics, Vol.163, 152-160, 2015
Design of perylene diimides for organic solar cell: Effect of molecular steric hindrance and extended conjugation
Core-substituted perylene diimides (PDI) are promising candidates as n-type semiconductor materials for organic photovoltaics. The chemical functionalization of perylene diimides in the bay positions is a versatile tool to obtain a series of electron acceptor materials with tunable electron affinity. These materials usually feature a donor-acceptor D-A structure in which the electron withdrawing PDI core is covalently linked with different electron donating chemical groups. The structural and electronic properties of the substituents define and modulate the optical/electrical properties of the semiconductor and the performance as photovoltaic material. In this work we designed two PDI molecules with D-A-D structure using spirobifluorene group as substituent directly linked to the perylene core (PDI-SF) and with insertion of a bithiophene moiety (PDI-BSF). In both molecules we found a reduced tendency to form aggregates in the solid state thanks to the cross-shaped rigid structure and strong steric hindrance of the spirobifluorene group. Additionally, in the case of PDI-BSF the presence of the bithiophene linker contributes significantly to extend the conjugation, resulting in a panchromatic absorption in the whole visible to NIR region. We present the synthesis of these materials and their characterisation in terms of absorption spectroscopy, cyclic voltammetry and computational calculations. Finally we show preliminary results of their use as active components in P3HT/PDIs bulk heterojunction solar cells. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.