A Narrow-Bandgap n-Type Polymer Semiconductor Enabling Efficient All-Polymer Solar Cells

Shengbin Shi, Peng Chen, Yao Chen, Kui Feng, Bin Liu, Jianhua Chen, Qiaogan Liao, Bao Tu, Jiasi Luo, Mengyao Su, Han Guo, Myung Gil Kim, Antonio Facchetti, Xugang Guo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Currently, n-type acceptors in high-performance all-polymer solar cells (all-PSCs) are dominated by imide-functionalized polymers, which typically show medium bandgap. Herein, a novel narrow-bandgap polymer, poly(5,6-dicyano-2,1,3-benzothiadiazole-alt-indacenodithiophene) (DCNBT-IDT), based on dicyanobenzothiadiazole without an imide group is reported. The strong electron-withdrawing cyano functionality enables DCNBT-IDT with n-type character and, more importantly, alleviates the steric hindrance associated with typical imide groups. Compared to the benchmark poly(naphthalene diimide-alt-bithiophene) (N2200), DCNBT-IDT shows a narrower bandgap (1.43 eV) with a much higher absorption coefficient (6.15 × 104 cm−1). Such properties are elusive for polymer acceptors to date, eradicating the drawbacks inherited in N2200 and other high-performance polymer acceptors. When blended with a wide-bandgap polymer donor, the DCNBT-IDT-based all-PSCs achieve a remarkable power conversion efficiency of 8.32% with a small energy loss of 0.53 eV and a photoresponse of up to 870 nm. Such efficiency greatly outperforms those of N2200 (6.13%) and the naphthalene diimide (NDI)-based analog NDI-IDT (2.19%). This work breaks the long-standing bottlenecks limiting materials innovation of n-type polymers, which paves a new avenue for developing polymer acceptors with improved optoelectronic properties and heralds a brighter future of all-PSCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1905161
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number46
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • all-polymer solar cells
  • dicyanobenzothiadiazole
  • high absorption coefficient
  • narrow bandgap
  • polymer acceptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


Dive into the research topics of 'A Narrow-Bandgap n-Type Polymer Semiconductor Enabling Efficient All-Polymer Solar Cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this