Isomerically Pure Benzothiophene-Incorporated Acceptor: Achieving Improved Voc and Jsc of Nonfullerene Organic Solar Cells via End Group Manipulation

Shao Ling Chang, Kai En Hung, Fong Yi Cao, Kuo Hsiu Huang, Chain Shu Hsu, Chuang Yi Liao, Chia Hao Lee, Yen Ju Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Benzene-based 1,1-dicyanomethylene-3-indanone (IC) derivatives have been widely utilized as the end-group to construct acceptor-donor-acceptor type nonfullerene acceptors (A-D-A type NFAs). The extension of the end-group conjugation of nonfullerene acceptors (NFAs) is a rational strategy to facilitate intermolecular stacking of the end-groups which are responsible for efficient electron transportation. A bicyclic benzothiophene-based end-group acceptor, 2-(3-oxo-2,3-dihydro-1H-benzo[b]cyclopenta[d]thiophen-1-ylidene)malononitrile, denoted as α-BC was designed and synthesized. The Knoevenagel condensation of the unsymmetrical 1,3-diketo-precursor with one equivalent of malononitrile selectively reacts with the keto group attached at the α-position of the thiophene unit, leading to the isomerically pure benzothiophene-fused α-BC. The well-defined α-BC with extended conjugation was condensed with three different ladder-type diformylated donors to form three new A-D-A NFAs named BDCPDT-BC, DTCC-BC, and ITBC, respectively. The corresponding IC-based BDCPDT-IC, DTCC-IC, and ITIC model compounds were also synthesized for comparison. The incorporation of the electron-rich benzothiophene unit in the end-group upshifts the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital energy levels of the NFAs, which beneficially enlarges the Voc values. On the other hand, the benzothiophene unit in α-BC not also imparts an optical transition in the shorter wavelengths around 340-400 nm for a better light harvesting ability but also promotes the antiparallel π-π stacking of the end-groups for efficient electron transport. The organic photovoltaic cell devices using a PBDB-T polymer and BC-based NFAs all showed the improved Voc and Jsc values. The BDCPDT-BC- and DTCC-BC-based devices exhibited a power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 10.82 and 10.74%, respectively, which outperformed the corresponding BDCPDT-IC-, and DTCC-IC-based devices (9.33 and 9.25%). More importantly, the ITBC-based device delivered the highest PCE of 12.07% with a Jsc of 19.90 mA/cm2, a Voc of 0.94 V, and an fill factor of 64.51%, representing a 14% improvement relative to the traditional ITIC-based device (10.05%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33179-33187
Number of pages9
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Issue number36
StatePublished - 11 Sep 2019


  • acceptor strength
  • benzothiophene-fused acceptor
  • ladder-type structure
  • nonfullerene acceptor
  • organic photovoltaics


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