Self-Assembling Tripodal Small-Molecule Donors for Bulk Heterojunction Solar Cells

Taner Aytun, Peter J. Santos, Carson J. Bruns, Dongxu Huang, Andrew R. Koltonow, Monica Olvera De La Cruz, Samuel I. Stupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


The power conversion efficiency of organic solar cells (OSCs) could benefit from systematic studies to improve bulk heterojunction (BHJ) morphology by modifying donor compounds. Supramolecular self-assembly is an attractive strategy to combine the beneficial properties of polymeric donors, such as a well-controlled morphology, with the homogeneous composition of small molecule donors for OSCs. We report here on two tripodal "star-shaped" small-molecule donor compounds based on diketopyrrolopyrrole (DPP) side chains for solution-processed BHJ OSCs. The tripod molecules were found not to aggregate in solution or form crystalline domains in thin films when a branched alkyl chain (2-ethylhexyl) substituent was used, whereas linear (docedecyl) alkyl chains promote the formation of one-dimensional (1D) nanowires and more crystalline domains in the solid state. We demonstrate that the 1D self-assembly of these tripods enhances the performance of the corresponding solution-processed OSCs by 50%, which is attributed to the significant increase in the fill factor of devices resulting from a reduction of trap states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3602-3611
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Feb 25 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Energy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

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    Aytun, T., Santos, P. J., Bruns, C. J., Huang, D., Koltonow, A. R., Olvera De La Cruz, M., & Stupp, S. I. (2016). Self-Assembling Tripodal Small-Molecule Donors for Bulk Heterojunction Solar Cells. Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 120(7), 3602-3611.