Twisted A-D-A Type Acceptors with Thermally-Activated Delayed Crystallization Behavior for Efficient Nonfullerene Organic Solar Cells

Yilei Wu, Sebastian Schneider, Yue Yuan, Ryan M. Young, Tommaso Francese, Iram F. Mansoor, Peter J. Dudenas, Yusheng Lei, Enrique D. Gomez, Dean M. DeLongchamp, Mark C. Lipke, Giulia Galli, Michael R. Wasielewski, John B. Asbury, Michael F. Toney, Zhenan Bao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Molecular aggregation and crystallization during film coating play a crucial role in the realization of high-performing organic photovoltaics. Strong intermolecular interactions and high solid-state crystallinity are beneficial for charge transport. However, fast crystallization during thin-film drying often limits the formation of the finely phase-separated morphology required for efficient charge generation. Herein, the authors show that twisted acceptor-donor-acceptor (A-D-A) type compounds, containing an indacenodithiophene (IDT) electron-rich core and two naphthalenediimide (NDI) electron-poor units, leads to formation of mostly amorphous phases in the as-cast film, which can be readily converted into more crystalline domains by means of thermal annealing. This design strategy solves the aforementioned conundrum, leading to an optimal morphology in terms of reduced donor/acceptor domain-separation sizes (ca. 13 nm) and increased packing order. Solar cells based on these acceptors with a PBDB-T polymer donor show a power conversion efficiency over 10% and stable morphology, which results from the combined properties of desirable excited-state dynamics, high charge mobility, and optimal aggregation/crystallization characteristics. These results demonstrate that the twisted A-D-A motif featuring thermally-induced crystallization behavior is indeed a promising alternative design approach toward more morphologically robust materials for efficient organic photovoltaics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2103957
JournalAdvanced Energy Materials
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 12 2022


  • charge generation
  • charge transport
  • film morphology
  • molecular packing
  • nonfullerene acceptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)


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