Practical efficiency limits in organic photovoltaic cells: Functional dependence of fill factor and external quantum efficiency

Servaites, Jonathan D.; Ratner, Mark A.; Marks, Tobin J.
October 2009
Applied Physics Letters;10/19/2009, Vol. 95 Issue 16, p163302
Academic Journal
We evaluate practical power conversion efficiency limits (ηlim) in bulk-heterojunction organic photovoltaic (BHJ OPV) cells and how the field dependence of exciton dissociation affects cell efficiencies. We treat the fill factor limit as a function of the donor-acceptor lowest unoccupied molecular orbital offset energy (ELLO), calculating how this limit varies with decreasing ELLO. We also evaluate OPV external quantum efficiency as a function of wavelength from the optical transmittance and internal quantum efficiency limitations. For a given ELLO, we numerically optimize donor bandgap and ηlim and show that ηlim>10% should be possible for hypothetical OPV systems generating free charge carriers efficiently at ELLO∼0.3–0.4 eV. Current BHJ OPVs with low ELLO values appear to be limited to cell efficiencies of ∼5% largely as a consequence of incomplete exciton dissociation.


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