Princeton University

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Organic Photovoltaics Using Multiple Exciton Effects

Yunhui Lisa Lin
Prof. Rand
Engineering Quadrangle B327
Thursday, May 2, 2019 - 10:00am to 11:30am


Multiple exciton effects in organic semiconductors have the potential to improve photon utilization in solar cells. When a semiconductor absorbs light, photons with energy below the bandgap are transmitted, while photoexcitations with energy above the bandgap are rapidly thermalized to the band edge. Together, sub-bandgap transmission losses and above-bandgap thermalization losses account for the vast majority of fundamental energy losses in a solar cell, and any strategies to circumvent these mechanisms have great potential to bring solar cells beyond the Shockley-Queisser limit.

Unlike inorganic semiconductors, organic semiconductors are excitonic. Notably, they possess triplet states that are distinct from (and lower in energy than) the optically excitable singlet state. This means that while the singlet state defines the absorption threshold of the material, there are mid-gap states that can be populated and exploited for novel purposes. Singlet fission is a process whereby a high energy singlet exciton is divided into two triplet excitons with approximately half of the singlet energy. Triplet-triplet annihilation is the reverse process, whereby two triplets pool their energies together to form a higher energy singlet.

In this dissertation defense, I will first discuss organic solar cells containing singlet fission absorbers and present our findings that the donor-acceptor charge transfer state energy is highly dependent on the interfacial morphology. In particular, interfaces that exhibit a higher degree of structural order are correlated with stabilized charge transfer states that are more efficient at dissociating triplets generated by the singlet fission absorber. In the second part of this defense, I will present a proof-of-concept solid-state organic intermediate band solar cell that is able to harvest sub-bandgap photons by taking advantage of triplet-triplet annihilation upconversion.