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ABSTRACT: A set of two donor-acceptor type conjugated polymers with carboxylic acid side groups have been synthesized and utilized as active materials for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). The polymers feature a π-conjugated backbone consisting of an electron-poor 2,1,3-benzothiadiazole (BTD, acceptor) unit, alternating with either a thiophene-fluorene-thiophene triad (2a) or a terthiophene (3a) segment as the donor. The donor-acceptor polymers absorb broadly throughout the visible region, with terthiophene-BTD polymer 3a exhibiting an absorption onset at approximately 625 nm corresponding to a ∼1.9 eV bandgap. The polymers adsorb onto the surface of nanostructured TiO(2) due to interaction of the polar carboxylic acid units with the metal oxide surface. The resulting films absorb visible light strongly, and their spectra approximately mirror the polymers' solution absorption. Interestingly, a series of samples of 3a with different molecular weight (M(n)) adsorb to TiO(2) to an extent that varies inversely with M(n). DSSCs that utilize the donor-acceptor polymers as sensitizers were tested using an I(-)/I(3)(-) electrolyte. Importantly, for the set of polymer sensitizers 3a with varying M(n), the DSSC efficiency varies inversely with M(n), a result that reflects the difference in adsorption efficiency observed in the film absorption experiments. The best DSSC cell tested is based on a sample of 3a with M(n) ∼ 4000, and it exhibits a ∼65% peak IPCE with J(sc) ∼12.6 mA cm(-2) under AM1.5 illumination and an overall power conversion efficiency of ∼3%.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 02/2011; 133(9):3063-9. · 10.68 Impact Factor