Intrinsically Stable Plastic Energy Harvesting Materials: Thermodynamically Stable All-Polymer Devices
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Advanced conjugated polymers having extended networks of Ï -bonds are unique materials class that continue to demonstrate impressive performance in virtually any device or function to which they are applied.1-2 Their solution processability, mechanical flexibility, semiconducting nature and virtually infinite properties tunability have resulted in their successful implementation in photodynamic therapy, fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging, lasers, sensors, supercapacitors, batteries, photocatalysis, spintronics, transistors, solar cells and light emitting diodes. A recent industrial market report by IDTechEx research â experts that are widely cited in global media on emerging technologies-â finds that the total market for printed, flexible and organic electronics will grow from 77.3 billion in 2029â (Figure 1)-www.idtechex.com/research/reports-2019. Nevertheless, for this projection to reach fruition, the performance of conjugated polymer devices must be increased substantially. The 7th Sustainable Development Goal by the United Nations is to â Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energyâ . Energy is relevant to almost every important venture and possibility the world faces today. With continuously falling fossil fuel reserves and looming climate change, it is ever more important to develop new and sustainable energy sources. Solar energy conversion devices based on organic materials offer a promising technology for low-cost, lightweight, easily deployed, earth-abundant, environmentally benign, and scalable solar energy conversion into electricity.2-4 The most efficient polymer solar cell (PSC) devices are based on the bulk heterojunction (BHJ) architecture, which features an interpenetrating network of contiguous hole-and electron-conducting domains achieved by blending electron-rich and electron-poor organic semiconductors, respectively.5-7 To date, BHJ advances have been dominated by polymer donor+small molecule acceptor blends, and with optimization, power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) have soared to an astounding 16%(projected 25% in the future).8-9 Nevertheless, polymer-small molecule blends have intrinsic morphological, environmental, and mechanical instabilities that may never allow the long-term durability necessary for large-scale commercialization. Imagine instead that the active layer of a soft matter solar cell is composed only of durable, tailorable, high-molecular mass polymers: a donor polymer+acceptor polymer blended togetherâ an all-polymer solar cell (APSC).10-16 Note that APSCs have been sparsely investigated in comparison to conventional PSCs. Nevertheless, fundamental polymer science and initial results to date (PCEs near 10% and growing) argue that APSCs can deliver: 1) high, tunable light absorption; 2) robust BHJ film morphology; 3) long-term thermal, compositional, and mechanical stability; ..........