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- Energy; Materials Science; compatibility; fullerene solar cells; nonfullerene solar cells; random copolymer; structure– property relationship
A series of PBDB-TTn random donor copolymers is synthesized, consisting of an electron-deficient benzo[1,2-c:4,5-c′]dithiophene-4,8-dione (BDD) unit and different ratios of two electron-rich benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b′]dithiophene (BDT) and thieno[3,2-b]thiophene (TT) units, with intention to modulate the intrachain and/or interchain interactions and ultimately bulk-heterojunction morphology evolution. A comparative study using 4 × 2 polymer solar cell (PSC) performance maps and each of the [6,6]-phenyl-C-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) and the fused-aromatic-ring-based molecule (m-ITIC) acceptors are carried out. Given the similarities in their absorption ranges and energy levels, the PBDB-TTn copolymers clearly reveal a change in the absorption coefficients upon optimization of the BDT to TT ratio in the backbone. Among the given acceptor combination sets, superior performances are observed in the case of PBDB-TT5 blended with PCBM (8.34 ± 0.10%) or m-ITIC (11.10 ± 0.08%), and the dominant factors causing power conversion efficiency differences in them are found to be distinctly different. For example, the performances of PCBM-based PSCs are governed by size and population of face-on crystallites, while intermixed morphology without the formation of large phase-separated aggregates is the key factor for achieving high-performance m-ITIC-based PSCs. This study presents a new sketch of structure–morphology–performance relationships for fullerene- versus nonfullerene-based PSCs.