Aqueous Soluble Fullerene Acceptors for Efficient Eco-Friendly Polymer Solar Cells Processed from Benign Ethanol/Water Mixtures

Youngkwon Kim, Joonhyeong Choi, Changyeon Lee, Youngwoong Kim, Changkyun Kim, Thanh Luan Nguyen, Bhoj Gautam, Kenan Gundogdu, Han Young Woo, Bumjoon J. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


We present a new series of fullerene derivatives that exhibit solubility in ethanol/water solvent mixtures and implement these materials to fabricate polymer solar cells (PSCs) using environmentally benign solvents. In order to simultaneously optimize the processability of the fullerenes in ethanol/water solvent mixtures and device performance, different fullerene mono-adducts were designed by introducing oligoethylene glycol side chains with different lengths and number of branches. As a result, we achieved power conversion efficiencies up to 1.4% for PSCs processed from benign ethanol/water mixtures in air. Significantly, the new alcohol/water-soluble fullerene derivatives displayed electron mobilities up to 1.30 × 10-4 cm2 V-1 s-1, 150 times higher than those of a previously reported alcohol-soluble fullerene bis-adduct, owing to efficient packing of the fullerenes. Femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy revealed the acceptor side chain to markedly impact geminate and/or nongeminate charge recombination in the PSCs. In addition, side chain optimization of these fullerenes produced well-intermixed morphologies with high domain purity when blended with p-type polymer to provide hole and electron transport pathways. Our results provide important guidelines for the design of electroactive materials for safe and environmentally benign fabrication of PSCs and other organic electronic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5663-5672
Number of pages10
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 28


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Chemistry

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