An Algorithm Finds New Materials For Better Organic Solar Cells

An Algorithm Finds New Materials For Better Organic Solar Cells 

This article explains how An Algorithm Finds New Materials for Better Organic Solar Cells.

Organic, carbon-based materials are currently widely used in displays, and they hold promise for novel solar cells. Customizing their qualities takes time and intensive chemical synthesis and characterization. The Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research has devised a new simulation methodology that combines existing chemical building blocks to form new structures and links them with solar cell efficiency, potentially simplifying development processes. 

Organic solar cells may be important in the shift to renewable energy. But a cheap synthetic approach and excellent cell efficiency help this transformation. It is now possible to synthesize non-fullerene acceptors at a lower cost than typical silicon solar cells, while still achieving higher efficiency than the first organic solar cells. 

The creation of “non-fullerene acceptor” materials with solar cell-friendly characteristics remains a difficulty. A new simulation-based design process has been developed by Denis Andrienko and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research. The design process uses well-known high-efficiency organic solar cells divided into building components. These fragments contain chemical components that donate or accept electrons, referred to as “acceptors” and “donors.” Combining donor and acceptor molecules from different solar cells yields new “non-fullerene acceptor” compounds. 

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“Selecting the proper one among the enormous number of existing chemical compounds is difficult,” says Kun-Han Lin, co-author of the study. 

Molecular symmetry, quadrupole moment, ionization energy, and electron affinity are among the design limitations that limit the number of non-fullerene acceptor molecules. For example, an acceptor-donor-acceptor combination always uses two acceptor building pieces of the same kind. 

This design process predicts solar cell efficiency before components are manufactured. 

In fact, 10 of the 12 projected effective solar cells have actually been created, Andrienko said. 

They published in the prestigious Advanced Energy Materials.

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