Increasing Photostability of Inverted Nonfullerene Organic Solar Cells by Using Fullerene Derivative Additives

Marcella Günther, Dominic Blätte, Anna Lena Oechsle, Sergio Sánchez Rivas, Amir Abbas Yousefi Amin, Peter Müller-Buschbaum, Thomas Bein, Tayebeh Ameri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Organic solar cells (OSCs) recently achieved efficiencies of over 18% and are well on their way to practical applications, but still considerable stability issues need to be overcome. One major problem emerges from the electron transport material zinc oxide (ZnO), which is mainly used in the inverted device architecture and decomposes many high-performance nonfullerene acceptors due to its photocatalytic activity. In this work, we add three different fullerene derivatives - PC71BM, ICMA, and BisPCBM - to an inverted binary PBDB-TF:IT-4F system in order to suppress the photocatalytic degradation of IT-4F on ZnO via the radical scavenging abilities of the fullerenes. We demonstrate that the addition of 5% fullerene not only increases the performance of the binary PBDB-TF:IT-4F system but also significantly improves the device lifetime under UV illumination in an inert atmosphere. While the binary devices lose 20% of their initial efficiency after only 3 h, this time is increased fivefold for the most promising ternary devices with ICMA. We attribute this improvement to a reduced photocatalytic decomposition of IT-4F in the ternary system, which results in a decreased recombination. We propose that the added fullerenes protect the IT-4F by acting as a sacrificial reagent, thereby suppressing the trap state formation. Furthermore, we show that the protective effect of the most promising fullerene ICMA is transferable to two other binary systems PBDB-TF:BTP-4F and PTB7-Th:IT-4F. Importantly, this effect can also increase the air stability of PBDB-TF:IT-4F. This work demonstrates that the addition of fullerene derivatives is a transferable and straightforward strategy to improve the stability of OSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19072-19084
Number of pages13
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number16
StatePublished - 28 Apr 2021


  • fullerenes
  • nonfullerene acceptors
  • photocatalytic activity
  • photostability
  • ternary organic solar cells
  • zinc oxide


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