Ultrafast hole transfer mediated by polaron pairs in all-polymer photovoltaic blends

Wang, R., Yao, Y., Zhang, C., Zhang, Y., Bin, H., Xue, L., Zhang, ZG., Xie, X., Ma, H., Wang, X., Li, Y., Xiao, M.
Nat Commun

Abstract

The charge separation yield at a bulk heterojunction sets the upper efficiency limit of an organic solar cell. Ultrafast charge transfer processes in polymer/fullerene blends have been intensively studied but much less is known about these processes in all-polymer systems. Here, we show that interfacial charge separation can occur through a polaron pair-derived hole transfer process in all-polymer photovoltaic blends, which is a fundamentally different mechanism compared to the exciton-dominated pathway in the polymer/fullerene blends. By utilizing ultrafast optical measurements, we have clearly identified an ultrafast hole transfer process with a lifetime of about 3 ps mediated by photo-excited polaron pairs which has a markedly high quantum efficiency of about 97%. Spectroscopic data show that excitons act as spectators during the efficient hole transfer process. Our findings suggest an alternative route to improve the efficiency of all-polymer solar devices by manipulating polaron pairs.

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-08361-4