Research Topic

Synthesis, Processing and Characterization of New Organic Semiconductors for Organic Photovoltaics

About this Research Topic

This Topic has been realized in collaboration with Dr. Mario Prosa, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute for the Study of Nanostructured Materials (ISMN) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR).

In the wide field of optoelectronics, organic materials offer many technological advantages over their inorganic counterparts, such as their low-cost processing, light weight, foldability, biocompatibility, and easy conformation onto non-flat surfaces. Besides this, the real unique characteristic of organic materials is the possibility to “program” them through the design of their chemical structure, and through the control on their synthetic and processing conditions, for the fine tuning of their functionality. This allows some organic optoelectronic technologies, in particular organic photovoltaics (OPVs), to reach the performance of the inorganic ones, by overcoming or circumventing some of the intrinsic limits of organic semiconducting materials (i.e. low charge mobility, low stability, etc.). Research on new semiconducting photo-active materials for OPVs, combined in devices with multi-junction architectures, has allowed a steep increase in efficiency to an impressive 17 %, which is close to the 22% of standard lab scale crystalline silicon solar cells.

Holding promise to further increase the performances of OPVs, research is currently devoted to the synthesis of new organic semiconducting photo-active materials for enhanced absorption (especially in the near-infrared spectral region), for full spectral coverage, for increased charge mobility, for reduced recombination-related loss processes, and for a higher stability under functioning conditions. To these aims, much effort is being put into the search for new non-fullerene acceptors, on new conjugated p-type and n-type polymers, or small molecules, which can be applied in the active layers of binary bulk-heterojunction solar cells, or in the newest promising ternary solar cells, or in tandem architectures. Much effort is also being put into the synthesis and study of new polymeric and molecular organic photoactive semiconductors, which can be prepared through green-chemistry approaches, or processed in green-solvents (such as non-chlorinated ones), or even in alcohol or water, in view of lowering the total costs and the environmental impact of the OPV technology.

In summary, in this Research Topic we welcome the submission of Original Articles, Reviews, or Perspectives on themes related to the synthesis, processing and characterization of new organic materials for the active layer of OPVs including, but not limited:
• non-fullerene acceptors,
• polymeric and molecular donors,
• third components for ternary organic solar cells,
• low band-gap polymers and small molecules for single junction or tandem architectures,
• alcohol/water soluble polymers and small molecules for aqueous processed organic solar cells,
• green-chemistry approaches for the synthesis of organic semiconductors,
• semiconducting small molecules and polymers for green‐solvent‐processing.


Keywords: organic semiconductors, organic solar cells, non-fullerene acceptors, green processing and synthesis, organic ternary solar cells


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

This Topic has been realized in collaboration with Dr. Mario Prosa, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute for the Study of Nanostructured Materials (ISMN) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR).

In the wide field of optoelectronics, organic materials offer many technological advantages over their inorganic counterparts, such as their low-cost processing, light weight, foldability, biocompatibility, and easy conformation onto non-flat surfaces. Besides this, the real unique characteristic of organic materials is the possibility to “program” them through the design of their chemical structure, and through the control on their synthetic and processing conditions, for the fine tuning of their functionality. This allows some organic optoelectronic technologies, in particular organic photovoltaics (OPVs), to reach the performance of the inorganic ones, by overcoming or circumventing some of the intrinsic limits of organic semiconducting materials (i.e. low charge mobility, low stability, etc.). Research on new semiconducting photo-active materials for OPVs, combined in devices with multi-junction architectures, has allowed a steep increase in efficiency to an impressive 17 %, which is close to the 22% of standard lab scale crystalline silicon solar cells.

Holding promise to further increase the performances of OPVs, research is currently devoted to the synthesis of new organic semiconducting photo-active materials for enhanced absorption (especially in the near-infrared spectral region), for full spectral coverage, for increased charge mobility, for reduced recombination-related loss processes, and for a higher stability under functioning conditions. To these aims, much effort is being put into the search for new non-fullerene acceptors, on new conjugated p-type and n-type polymers, or small molecules, which can be applied in the active layers of binary bulk-heterojunction solar cells, or in the newest promising ternary solar cells, or in tandem architectures. Much effort is also being put into the synthesis and study of new polymeric and molecular organic photoactive semiconductors, which can be prepared through green-chemistry approaches, or processed in green-solvents (such as non-chlorinated ones), or even in alcohol or water, in view of lowering the total costs and the environmental impact of the OPV technology.

In summary, in this Research Topic we welcome the submission of Original Articles, Reviews, or Perspectives on themes related to the synthesis, processing and characterization of new organic materials for the active layer of OPVs including, but not limited:
• non-fullerene acceptors,
• polymeric and molecular donors,
• third components for ternary organic solar cells,
• low band-gap polymers and small molecules for single junction or tandem architectures,
• alcohol/water soluble polymers and small molecules for aqueous processed organic solar cells,
• green-chemistry approaches for the synthesis of organic semiconductors,
• semiconducting small molecules and polymers for green‐solvent‐processing.


Keywords: organic semiconductors, organic solar cells, non-fullerene acceptors, green processing and synthesis, organic ternary solar cells


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 April 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 April 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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