Structural engineering of porphyrin small molecules for bulk heterojunction organic solar cell applications

  • Xuan Zhou

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Organic donor and acceptor have promised the better future energy technologies to alleviate global energy demand and environmental issues. And nowadays they begin to come true in bulk heterojunction organic solar cells (BHJ OSCs) with advantages of low-cost, light-weight, large-area, flexibility, and with high efficiencies (PCEs) of over 14% for converting solar energy to electricity. Porphyrins are unique potential for artificial photocatalysis but their application in BHJ OSCs are still limited by the PCEs less than 10%. This complicacy comes from their inadequate spectral absorptions and the imperfect morphologies. In this thesis, we devote to chemical modification of acceptor-π-porphyrin-π-acceptor (A-π-Por-π-A) structural molecules to enhance their spectral absorptions and phase-separation functions with fullerene acceptor. Firstly, chemically driving J-aggregates have been studied on the new A-π-Por-π-A porphyrin molecule, which could improve the phase-separation of its blend film with PC71BM and and enhance its performance in BHJ OSCs with PCE up to 8.04%. Secondly, two new benzodithiophene (BDT) π-bridged A-π-Por-π-A molecules have been prepared with complementary absorption between the Soret and Q bands. The devices based on the blend fims of the porphyrin donor and PC71BM acceptor exhibit full spectral photocurrent generation and impressive PCEs up to 7.92%. Thirdly, we further extended the π-conjugation of the above BDT π-brigded A-π-Por-π-A molecules by inserting alkyl chain substituted thiophene derivatives into their backbones, resulting in new porphyrin molecules with UV-visible-near-infraed absorption spectra. Using those porphyrin molecules as donor and PCBM as acceptor, the devices show full spectra photocurrent generatoion and appropriate film morphology, resulting in high PCE up to 8.59%. Besides, photocatalysis is also a new promising technology to generate renewable energy. We herein develop new low-cost and noble-metal-free photocatalysts based on Co(OH)2 modified CdS nanowires and applied them for visible light driven hydrogen production from water-splitting. The optimum H2 production rate reaches 14.43 mmol·h−1·g−1 under (λ ≥ 420 nm) upon visible light irradiation, which is 206 and 3 times larger than that of the pristine CdS NWs and 1 wt% Pt-CdS NWs, respectively. The results indicate the promising application of earth-abundant Co(OH)2 as alternative cocatalysts of noble metals.

Date of Award22 Aug 2018
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRick W K WONG (Supervisor)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Porphyrins
  • Solar cells
  • Materials
  • Photocatalysis

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