Research Topic

Small-Molecule Semiconductors for High-Efficiency Organic Solar Cells

About this Research Topic

The conversion of solar energy into electrical power can ideally, in a clean and sustainable way, solve the global shortage of energy, as an alternative to fossil fuel energy sources. Small-molecule and polymer-based organic semiconductors play a vital role in pushing forward advances in next-generation solar ...

The conversion of solar energy into electrical power can ideally, in a clean and sustainable way, solve the global shortage of energy, as an alternative to fossil fuel energy sources. Small-molecule and polymer-based organic semiconductors play a vital role in pushing forward advances in next-generation solar cells. For organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells, recent efforts have been directed toward the design and synthesis of non-fullerene small-molecule acceptors and as a result all organic/polymer solar cells have experienced a significant increase in their power conversion efficiencies (PCEs), from 3-4% up to 12-14% within just the last 3-4 years. The PCEs from OPVs, using p-type small molecules as electron donor materials, have reached greater than 10% when paired with the fullerene acceptor, or greater than 8% when using the nonfullerene acceptor.

All of these advances clearly indicate that small-molecule semiconductors--as both OPV donor and/or acceptor materials--are excellent candidates for high-performance organic solar cells. Furthermore, small molecules are efficient for modifying electrodes to improve OPV performance. Meanwhile, roll-to-roll printed large-area solar cells have achieved PCEs above 3.8%, produced within the atmospheric environment and ambient temperatures, without using high energy-consuming materials such as indium-tin-oxide (ITO), and therefore heralds a bright future for the commercialization of organic solar cells (OSCs).

This Research Topic encourages advances in developing new concepts, new materials, new characterization methods, and novel processing techniques in the field of solar cells, presenting a valuable resource for developing green and sustainable solutions for future energy demands. As such, we welcome contributions in fundamental research and key technical advances in the fields of OPVs, in which small-molecule semiconductors are used as the electron donor and/or electron acceptor materials to fabricate the active layer, or as an additive in the active layer to modulate the film-morphology and/or the device performance, or even as a hole/electron transporting material to fabricate the anode/cathode interlayer, etc.

We welcome full and mini-reviews, original research articles, and method articles in regard to:

- Design and synthesis of new/novel non-fullerene small-molecule electron acceptors
- Design and synthesis of new/novel small-molecule electron donors
- Design and synthesis of solar cell materials including large-scale and economical material synthesis
- Scalable synthesis
- Device fabrication
- Mechanism understanding in charge separation, transport and collection
- Film-structure and film-morphology control
- Printing technique
- Studies on large area solar cells
- ITO-free solar cells
- Studies on solar cell stabilities
- Life-cycle analysis


Keywords: organic photovoltaics, solar cells, nonfullerene, small-molecule, interface engineering


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

18 June 2018 Manuscript
21 September 2018 Manuscript Extension

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

18 June 2018 Manuscript
21 September 2018 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

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

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