8.4% efficient fullerene-free organic solar cells exploiting long-range exciton energy transfer

Kjell Cnops, Barry P. Rand, David Cheyns, Bregt Verreet, Max A. Empl, Paul Heremans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

501 Scopus citations


In order to increase the power conversion efficiency of organic solar cells, their absorption spectrum should be broadened while maintaining efficient exciton harvesting. This requires the use of multiple complementary absorbers, usually incorporated in tandem cells or in cascaded exciton-dissociating heterojunctions. Here we present a simple three-layer architecture comprising two non-fullerene acceptors and a donor, in which an energy-relay cascade enables an efficient two-step exciton dissociation process. Excitons generated in the remote wide-bandgap acceptor are transferred by long-range Förster energy transfer to the smaller-bandgap acceptor, and subsequently dissociate at the donor interface. The photocurrent originates from all three complementary absorbing materials, resulting in a quantum efficiency above 75% between 400 and 720 nm. With an open-circuit voltage close to 1 V, this leads to a remarkable power conversion efficiency of 8.4%. These results confirm that multilayer cascade structures are a promising alternative to conventional donor-fullerene organic solar cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3406
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Mar 7 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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