Molecular understanding of organic solar cells: The challenges

Jean Luc Brédas, Joseph E. Norton, Jérôme Cornil, Veaceslav Coropceanu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1262 Scopus citations


(Figure presented) Our objective in this Account is 3-fold. First, we provide an overview of the optical and electronic processes that take place in a solid-state organic solar cell, which we define as a cell in which the semiconducting materials between the electrodes are organic, be them polymers, oligomers, or small molecules; this discussion is also meant to set the conceptual framework in which many of the contributions to this Special Issue on Photovoltaics can We viewed. We successively turn our attention to (i) optical absorption and exciton formation, (ii) exciton migration to the donor - acceptor interface, (iii) exciton dissociation into charge carriers, resulting in the appearance of holes in the donor and electrons in the acceptor, (iv) charge-carrier mobility, and (v) charge collection at the electrodes. For each of these processes, we also describe the theoretical challenges that need to be overcome to gain a comprehensive understanding at the molecular level. Finally, we highlight recent theoretical advances, in particular regarding the determination of the energetics and dynamics at organic - organic interfaces, and underline that the right balance needs to be found for the optimization of material parameters that often result in opposite effects on the photovoltaic performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1691-1699
Number of pages9
JournalAccounts of Chemical Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 17 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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