Offset energies at organic semiconductor heterojunctions and their influence on the open-circuit voltage of thin-film solar cells

Barry P. Rand, Diana P. Burk, Stephen R. Forrest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

638 Scopus citations

Abstract

Organic semiconductor heterojunction (HJ) energy level offsets are modeled using a combination of Marcus theory for electron transfer, and generalized Shockley theory of the dark current density vs voltage (J-V) characteristics. This model is used to fit the J-V characteristics of several donor-acceptor combinations commonly used in thin film organic photovoltaic cells. In combination with measurements of the energetics of donor-acceptor junctions, the model predicts tradeoffs between the junction open-circuit voltage (VOC) and short-circuit current density (JSC). The VOC is found to increase with light intensity and inversely with temperature for 14 donor-acceptor HJ materials pairs. In particular, we find that VOC reaches a maximum at low temperature (∼175 K) for many of the heterojunctions studied. The maximum value of VOC is a function of the difference between the donor ionization potential and acceptor electron affinity, minus the binding energy of the dissociated, geminate electron-hole pair: a general relationship that has implications on the charge transfer mechanism at organic heterojunctions. The fundamental understanding provided by this model leads us to infer that the maximum power conversion efficiency of double heterostructure organic photovoltaic cells can be as high as 12%. When combined with mixed layers to increase photocurrent and stacked cells to increase VOC, efficiencies approaching 16% are within reach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115327
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Volume75
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 27 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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