Sulfone-Modified Perylene Acceptors with Improved Permittivity for Bilayer Organic Solar Cells Processed from Non-halogenated Solvents

Peter Fürk, Matiss Reinfelds, Ilie Hanzu, Theresa Hartl, Jana Bianca Schaubeder, Elena Zuccala, Heinz Amenitsch, Thomas Rath*, Gregor Trimmel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Organic photovoltaics show high promise as a technology for sustainable energy conversion. A prominent strategy to reduce the substantial energy loss of organic solar cells is to synthesize high-permittivity (high-ϵ) active layer materials. However, despite the increase in permittivity, many of the high-ϵ materials achieved only inferior efficiencies, which is generally explained with a worse bulk heterojunction morphology. In this work, we tackled this issue by preparing high-ϵ acceptors and incorporating them in a bilayer setup, which we optimized using the systematic Design of Experiment (DoE) approach. The prepared acceptors are based on a perylene-linker-perylene scaffold, to which we attached polar sulfone-containing side chains. The relative permittivity of these acceptors increased by over 50% compared to their alkylated analogues. Simultaneously, some of the acceptors have greatly improved solubilities in non-halogenated “green” solvents. Both improvements enabled us to build bilayer organic solar cells from o-xylene and THF with PTQ10 as the donor, while simultaneously increasing the efficiency to 5.51% with a high open-circuit voltage of 1.3 V. Our results show that using a bilayer setup can successfully prevent morphology-related efficiency losses when employing high-ϵ materials. Combining this approach with a systematic optimization method (DoE) can unlock the theoretical potential of permittivity modification in organic solar cell research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1544-1554
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2023


  • bilayer solar cell
  • Design of Experiment
  • dye synthesis
  • organic solar cells
  • permittivity
  • sulfone side chains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


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