Organic solar cells incorporating non-fullerene acceptors (NFAs) have reached remarkable power conversion efficiencies of over 18%. Unlike fullerene derivatives, NFAs tend to crystallize from solutions, resulting in bulk heterojunctions that include a crystalline acceptor phase. This must be considered in any morphology-function models. Here, it is confirmed that high-performing solution-processed indacenodithienothiophene-based NFAs, i.e., ITIC and its derivatives ITIC-M, ITIC-2F, and ITIC-Th, exhibit at least two crystalline forms. In addition to highly ordered polymorphs that form at high temperatures, NFAs arrange into a low-temperature metastable phase that is readily promoted via solution processing and leads to the highest device efficiencies. Intriguingly, the low-temperature forms seem to feature a continuous network that favors charge transport despite of a poorly order along the π–π stacking direction. As the optical absorption of the structurally more disordered low-temperature phase can surpass that of the more ordered polymorphs while displaying comparable—or even higher—charge transport properties, it is argued that such a packing structure is an important feature for reaching highest device efficiencies, thus, providing guidelines for future materials design and crystal engineering activities.
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics