Borane Incorporation in a Non-Fullerene Acceptor to Tune Steric and Electronic Properties and Improve Organic Solar Cell Performance

Thomas A. Welsh, Audrey Laventure, Abdullah F. Alahmadi, Guanghui Zhang, Thomas Baumgartner, Yingping Zou, Frieder Jäkle, Gregory C. Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Herein we study the effects of borane incorporation in a perylene diimide (PDI)-based non-fullerene acceptor (NFA). We have previously demonstrated that a PDI-bithiophene-PDI ((PDI)2Th2) compound can be synthesized via direct (hetero)arylation techniques and is easily modified to incorporate a phosphole in the bithiophene core ((PDI)2Th2PO) to tune the electronic and geometric properties. In this work, we have synthesized the borane analogue ((PDI)2Th2B) and demonstrated that the organoboron moiety heavily influences the optical, electronic, and geometric properties. To determine the effects of borane functionalization on device performance, green solvent solution-processed bulk-heterojunction solar cells were fabricated using a medium-gap donor polymer TTFQx-T1 and each PDI compound as the NFA, respectively. Devices with the new borane-containing compound provided the highest efficiency, more than twice that for the other compounds, which was attributed to a highly twisted structure allowing for a more favorable active-layer morphology to be formed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1240
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 25 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • borane functionalization
  • green processing conditions
  • non-fullerene acceptors
  • organic materials
  • organic photovoltaics
  • perylene diimide

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