Incorporation of Hexa-peri-hexabenzocoronene (HBC) into Carbazole-Benzo-2,1,3-thiadiazole Copolymers to Improve Hole Mobility and Photovoltaic Performance
Hexa-peri-hexabenzocoronene (HBC) is a discotic-shaped conjugated molecule with strong π-π stacking property, high intrinsic charge mobility, and good self-assembly properties. For a long time, however, organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar cells based on HBC demonstrated low power conversion efficiencies (PCEs). In this study, two conjugated terpolymers, poly[N-9'-heptadecanyl-2,7-carbazole-alt-5,5'-(4',7'-di-2-thienyl-2',1',3'-benzothiadiazole)] (PCDTBT)-5 HBC and PCDTBT-10 HBC, were synthesized by incorporating different amounts of HBC as the third component into poly[N-9'-heptadecanyl-2,7-carbazole-alt-5,5'-(4',7'-di-2-thienyl-2',1',3'-benzothiadiazole)] (PCDTBT) through Suzuki coupling polymerization. For comparison, the donor-acceptor (D-A) conjugated dipolymer PCDTBT was also synthesized to investigate the effect of HBC units on conjugated polymers. The HBC-containing polymers exhibited higher thermal stabilities, broader absorption spectra, and lower highest-occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) energy levels. In particular, the field-effect mobilities were enhanced by more than one order of magnitude after the incorporation of HBC into the conjugated polymer backbone on account of increased interchain π-π stacking interactions. The bulk heterojunction (BHJ) polymer solar cells (PSCs) fabricated with the polymers as donor and PC71 BM as acceptor demonstrated gradual improvement of open-circuit voltage (VOC ) and short-circuit current (JSC ) with the increase in HBC content. As a result, the PCEs were improved from 3.21 % for PCDTBT to 3.78 % for PCDTBT-5 HBC and then to 4.20 % for PCDTBT-10 HBC.