To lower the HOMO (highest occupied molecular orbital) energy level of polythieno[3,4-b]thiophene (∼−4.5eV), a series of ester-functionalized polythieno[3,4-b]thiophene derivatives (P1–P3) were designed and synthesized by Stille cross coupling reaction. The resulting copolymers exhibited broad and strong absorption bands from visible to near infrared region with low optical band gaps of 1.23–1.42eV. Through cyclic voltammetry measurements, it was found that the HOMO energy levels of the copolymers gradually decreased with increasing the content of the thiophene-3,4-dicarboxylate moiety, i.e. −4.91eV for P1, −5.00eV for P2, and −5.11eV for P3. Preliminary photovoltaic properties of the copolymers blended with [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) as electron acceptor were investigated. Among the three copolymers, P1 exhibited the best photovoltaic performance with an open circuit voltage (Voc) of 0.54V, a short circuit current density (Isc) of 3.3mA/cm2, a fill factor (FF) of 0.57, and a power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 1.02%. A high Voc up to 0.71V was achieved in the solar cell based on a P3:PCBM blend.
- Ester group
- Polymer solar cells