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Organic and Hybrid Materials for Photovoltaic and Photonic Applications

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Applied Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2022) | Viewed by 28575

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Institute for Photonics and Nanotechnologies (IFN), National Research Council-CNR, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: ultrafast spectroscopy; organic and hybrid material; strong and weak coupling
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Guest Editor
National Research Council (CNR)-SCITEC-“G. Natta”, Milan, Italy
Interests: development of organic and hybrid materials for optoelectronic and photonic; nanomaterials; sustainable materials and processes for advanced applications
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Today, there is a huge demand for advanced materials capable of providing technological innovations. Among these, “organic semiconductors” combine the progress of semiconductors and plastic of the last century, becoming the subject of intense industrial and academic research. More recently, organic–inorganic hybrid functional materials have became a potential platform for applications in extremely diverse fields such as optics, microelectronics, transportation, health, energy, and energy storage. The interest in them is explained by the fact that it is possible to combine the best characteristics of both components in a large variety of combinations; in this way, they represent an intriguing class of materials with a large spectrum of applications.

This Special Issue will consider recent developments in the field of organic and hybrid materials in two of the most useful and promising applications of the millennium: photovoltaics and photonics. Multiple aspects of the materials will be taken into consideration, from the synthesis and the photophysical characterization to the application.

Dr. Tersilla Virgili
Dr. Mariacecilia Pasini
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Novel organic and hybrid materials
  • Interlayer materials for photovoltaic devices
  • Sustainable materials, approaches, and methods
  • CW and ultrafast photophysical characterization
  • Perovskite semiconductors
  • Organic and hybrid nanoparticles
  • New lasing materials
  • Strong coupling or weak coupling regime in organic and hybrid microcavities
  • Amplified spontaneous emission.

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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22 pages, 3738 KiB  
Article
Innovative Green Chemistry Approach to Synthesis of Sn2+-Metal Complex and Design of Polymer Composites with Small Optical Band Gaps
by Shujahadeen B. Aziz, Muaffaq M. Nofal, Mohamad A. Brza, Niyaz M. Sadiq, Elham M. A. Dannoun, Khayal K. Ahmed, Sameerah I. Al-Saeedi, Sarkawt A. Hussen and Ahang M. Hussein
Molecules 2022, 27(6), 1965; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27061965 - 18 Mar 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1820
Abstract
In this work, the green method was used to synthesize Sn2+-metal complex by polyphenols (PPHs) of black tea (BT). The formation of Sn2+-PPHs metal complex was confirmed through UV-Vis and FTIR methods. The FTIR method shows that BT contains [...] Read more.
In this work, the green method was used to synthesize Sn2+-metal complex by polyphenols (PPHs) of black tea (BT). The formation of Sn2+-PPHs metal complex was confirmed through UV-Vis and FTIR methods. The FTIR method shows that BT contains NH and OH functional groups, conjugated double bonds, and PPHs which are important to create the Sn2+-metal complexes. The synthesized Sn2+-PPHs metal complex was used successfully to decrease the optical energy band gap of PVA polymer. XRD method showed that the amorphous phase increased with increasing the metal complexes. The FTIR and XRD analysis show the complex formation between Sn2+-PPHs metal complex and PVA polymer. The enhancement in the optical properties of PVA was evidenced via UV-visible spectroscopy method. When Sn2+-PPHs metal complex was loaded to PVA, the refractive index and dielectric constant were improved. In addition, the absorption edge was also decreased to lower photon. The optical energy band gap decreases from 6.4 to 1.8 eV for PVAloaded with 30% (v/v) Sn2+-PPHs metal complex. The variations of dielectric constant versus wavelength of photon are examined to measure localized charge density (N/m*) and high frequency dielectric constant. By increasing Sn2+-PPHs metal complex, the N/m* are improved from 3.65 × 1055 to 13.38 × 1055 m−3 Kg−1. The oscillator dispersion energy (Ed) and average oscillator energy (Eo) are measured. The electronic transition natures in composite films are determined based on the Tauc’s method, whereas close examinations of the dielectric loss parameter are also held to measure the energy band gap. Full article
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10 pages, 1747 KiB  
Article
Temperature-Responsive Photoluminescence and Elastic Properties of 1D Lead Halide Perovskites R- and S-(Methylbenzylamine)PbBr3
by Rui Feng, Jia-Hui Fan, Kai Li, Zhi-Gang Li, Yan Qin, Zi-Ying Li, Wei Li and Xian-He Bu
Molecules 2022, 27(3), 728; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27030728 - 23 Jan 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3035
Abstract
Low-dimensional metal halide perovskites (MHPs) have received much attention due to their striking semiconducting properties tunable at a molecular level, which hold great potential in the development of next-generation optoelectronic devices. However, the insufficient understanding of their stimulus-responsiveness and elastic properties hinders future [...] Read more.
Low-dimensional metal halide perovskites (MHPs) have received much attention due to their striking semiconducting properties tunable at a molecular level, which hold great potential in the development of next-generation optoelectronic devices. However, the insufficient understanding of their stimulus-responsiveness and elastic properties hinders future practical applications. Here, the thermally responsive emissions and elastic properties of one-dimensional lead halide perovskites R- and S-MBAPbBr3 (MBA+ = methylbenzylamine) were systematically investigated via temperature-dependent photoluminescence (PL) experiments and first-principles calculations. The PL peak positions of both perovskites were redshifted by about 20 nm, and the corresponding full width at half maximum was reduced by about 40 nm, from ambient temperature to about 150 K. This kind of temperature-responsive self-trapped exciton emission could be attributed to the synergistic effect of electron–phonon coupling and thermal expansion due to the alteration of hydrogen bonding. Moreover, the elastic properties of S-MBAPbBr3 were calculated using density functional theory, revealing that its Young’s and shear moduli are in the range of 6.5–33.2 and 2.8–19.5 GPa, respectively, even smaller than those of two-dimensional MHPs. Our work demonstrates that the temperature-responsive emissions and low elastic moduli of these 1D MHPs could find use in flexible devices. Full article
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15 pages, 23264 KiB  
Article
Reductive Amination Reaction for the Functionalization of Cellulose Nanocrystals
by Omar Hassan Omar, Rosa Giannelli, Erica Colaprico, Laura Capodieci, Francesco Babudri and Alessandra Operamolla
Molecules 2021, 26(16), 5032; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26165032 - 19 Aug 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2659
Abstract
Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) represent intriguing biopolymeric nanocrystalline materials, that are biocompatible, sustainable and renewable, can be chemically functionalized and are endowed with exceptional mechanical properties. Recently, studies have been performed to prepare CNCs with extraordinary photophysical properties, also by means of their functionalization [...] Read more.
Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) represent intriguing biopolymeric nanocrystalline materials, that are biocompatible, sustainable and renewable, can be chemically functionalized and are endowed with exceptional mechanical properties. Recently, studies have been performed to prepare CNCs with extraordinary photophysical properties, also by means of their functionalization with organic light-emitting fluorophores. In this paper, we used the reductive amination reaction to chemically bind 4-(1-pyrenyl)butanamine selectively to the reducing termini of sulfated or neutral CNCs (S_CNC and N_CNC) obtained from sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid hydrolysis. The functionalization reaction is simple and straightforward, and it induces the appearance of the typical pyrene emission profile in the functionalized materials. After a characterization of the new materials performed by ATR-FTIR and fluorescence spectroscopies, we demonstrate luminescence quenching of the decorated N_CNC by copper (II) sulfate, hypothesizing for these new functionalized materials an application in water purification technologies. Full article
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10 pages, 2572 KiB  
Article
Optical Gain in Semiconducting Polymer Nano and Mesoparticles
by Mark Geoghegan, Marta M. Mróz, Chiara Botta, Laurie Parrenin, Cyril Brochon, Eric Cloutet, Eleni Pavlopoulou, Georges Hadziioannou and Tersilla Virgili
Molecules 2021, 26(4), 1138; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26041138 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 2012
Abstract
The presence of excited-states and charge-separated species was identified through UV and visible laser pump and visible/near-infrared probe femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy in spin coated films of poly[N-9″-heptadecanyl-2,7-carbazole-alt-5,5-(4,7-di-2-thienyl-2′,1′,3′-benzothiadiazole)] (PCDTBT) nanoparticles and mesoparticles. Optical gain in the mesoparticle films is [...] Read more.
The presence of excited-states and charge-separated species was identified through UV and visible laser pump and visible/near-infrared probe femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy in spin coated films of poly[N-9″-heptadecanyl-2,7-carbazole-alt-5,5-(4,7-di-2-thienyl-2′,1′,3′-benzothiadiazole)] (PCDTBT) nanoparticles and mesoparticles. Optical gain in the mesoparticle films is observed after excitation at both 400 and 610 nm. In the mesoparticle film, charge generation after UV excitation appears after around 50 ps, but little is observed after visible pump excitation. In the nanoparticle film, as for a uniform film of the pure polymer, charge formation was efficiently induced by UV excitation pump, while excitation of the low energetic absorption states (at 610 nm) induces in the nanoparticle film a large optical gain region reducing the charge formation efficiency. It is proposed that the different intermolecular interactions and molecular order within the nanoparticles and mesoparticles are responsible for their markedly different photophysical behavior. These results therefore demonstrate the possibility of a hitherto unexplored route to stimulated emission in a conjugated polymer that has relatively undemanding film preparation requirements. Full article
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17 pages, 2588 KiB  
Article
Sulfonate-Conjugated Polyelectrolytes as Anode Interfacial Layers in Inverted Organic Solar Cells
by Elisa Lassi, Benedetta Maria Squeo, Roberto Sorrentino, Guido Scavia, Simona Mrakic-Sposta, Maristella Gussoni, Barbara Vercelli, Francesco Galeotti, Mariacecilia Pasini and Silvia Luzzati
Molecules 2021, 26(3), 763; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26030763 - 02 Feb 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2731
Abstract
Conjugated polymers with ionic pendant groups (CPEs) are receiving increasing attention as solution-processed interfacial materials for organic solar cells (OSCs). Various anionic CPEs have been successfully used, on top of ITO (Indium Tin Oxide) electrodes, as solution-processed anode interlayers (AILs) for conventional devices [...] Read more.
Conjugated polymers with ionic pendant groups (CPEs) are receiving increasing attention as solution-processed interfacial materials for organic solar cells (OSCs). Various anionic CPEs have been successfully used, on top of ITO (Indium Tin Oxide) electrodes, as solution-processed anode interlayers (AILs) for conventional devices with direct geometry. However, the development of CPE AILs for OSC devices with inverted geometry is an important topic that still needs to be addressed. Here, we have designed three anionic CPEs bearing alkyl-potassium-sulfonate side chains. Their functional behavior as anode interlayers has been investigated in P3HT:PC61BM (poly(3-hexylthiophene): [6,6]-phenyl C61 butyric acid methyl ester) devices with an inverted geometry, using a hole collecting silver electrode evaporated on top. Our results reveal that to obtain effective anode modification, the CPEs’ conjugated backbone has to be tailored to grant self-doping and to have a good energy-level match with the photoactive layer. Furthermore, the sulfonate moieties not only ensure the solubility in polar orthogonal solvents, induce self-doping via a right choice of the conjugated backbone, but also play a role in the gaining of hole selectivity of the top silver electrode. Full article
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13 pages, 2573 KiB  
Article
Molecular Engineering Enhances the Charge Carriers Transport in Wide Band-Gap Polymer Donors Based Polymer Solar Cells
by Siyang Liu, Shuwang Yi, Peiling Qing, Weijun Li, Bin Gu, Zhicai He and Bin Zhang
Molecules 2020, 25(18), 4101; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25184101 - 08 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1894
Abstract
The novel and appropriate molecular design for polymer donors are playing an important role in realizing high-efficiency and high stable polymer solar cells (PSCs). In this work, four conjugated polymers (PIDT-O, PIDTT-O, PIDT-S and PIDTT-S) with indacenodithiophene (IDT) and indacenodithieno [3,2-b]thiophene (IDTT) as [...] Read more.
The novel and appropriate molecular design for polymer donors are playing an important role in realizing high-efficiency and high stable polymer solar cells (PSCs). In this work, four conjugated polymers (PIDT-O, PIDTT-O, PIDT-S and PIDTT-S) with indacenodithiophene (IDT) and indacenodithieno [3,2-b]thiophene (IDTT) as the donor units, and alkoxy-substituted benzoxadiazole and benzothiadiazole derivatives as the acceptor units have been designed and synthesized. Taking advantages of the molecular engineering on polymer backbones, these four polymers showed differently photophysical and photovoltaic properties. They exhibited wide optical bandgaps of 1.88, 1.87, 1.89 and 1.91 eV and quite impressive hole mobilities of 6.01 × 10−4, 7.72 × 10−4, 1.83 × 10−3, and 1.29 × 10−3 cm2 V−1 s−1 for PIDT-O, PIDTT-O, PIDT-S and PIDTT-S, respectively. Through the photovoltaic test via using PIDT-O, PIDTT-O, PIDT-S and PIDTT-S as donor materials and [6,6]-phenyl-C-71-butyric acid methyl ester (PC71BM) as acceptor materials, all the PSCs presented the high open circuit voltages (Vocs) over 0.85 V, whereas the PIDT-S and PIDTT-S based devices showed higher power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) of 5.09% and 4.43%, respectively. Interestingly, the solvent vapor annealing (SVA) treatment on active layers could improve the fill factors (FFs) extensively for these four polymers. For PIDT-S and PIDTT-S, the SVA process improved the FFs exceeding 71%, and ultimately the PCEs were increased to 6.05%, and 6.12%, respectively. Therefore, this kind of wide band-gap polymers are potentially candidates as efficient electron-donating materials for constructing high-performance PSCs. Full article
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16 pages, 807 KiB  
Article
Determination of the Best Empiric Method to Quantify the Amplified Spontaneous Emission Threshold in Polymeric Active Waveguides
by Stefania Milanese, Maria Luisa De Giorgi and Marco Anni
Molecules 2020, 25(13), 2992; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25132992 - 30 Jun 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2376
Abstract
Amplified Spontaneous Emission (ASE) threshold represents a crucial parameter often used to establish if a material is a good candidate for applications to lasers. Even if the ASE properties of conjugated polymers have been widely investigated, the specific literature is characterized by several [...] Read more.
Amplified Spontaneous Emission (ASE) threshold represents a crucial parameter often used to establish if a material is a good candidate for applications to lasers. Even if the ASE properties of conjugated polymers have been widely investigated, the specific literature is characterized by several methods to determine the ASE threshold, making comparison among the obtained values impossible. We quantitatively compare 9 different methods employed in literature to determine the ASE threshold, in order to find out the best candidate to determine the most accurate estimate of it. The experiment has been performed on thin films of an homopolymer, a copolymer and a host:guest polymer blend, namely poly(9,9-dioctylfluorene) (PFO), poly(9,9-dioctylfluorene-cobenzothiadiazole) (F8BT) and F8BT:poly(3- hexylthiophene) (F8BT:rrP3HT), applying the Variable Pump Intensity (VPI) and the Variable Stripe Length (VSL) methods. We demonstrate that, among all the spectral features affected by the presence of ASE, the most sensitive is the spectral linewidth and that the best way to estimate the ASE threshold is to determine the excitation density at the beginning of the line narrowing. We also show that the methods most frequently used in literature always overestimate the threshold up to more than one order of magnitude. Full article
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Review

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13 pages, 2441 KiB  
Review
Elucidating Charge Generation in Green-Solvent Processed Organic Solar Cells
by Safa Shoaee, Anna Laura Sanna and Giuseppe Sforazzini
Molecules 2021, 26(24), 7439; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26247439 - 08 Dec 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2921
Abstract
Organic solar cells have the potential to become the cheapest form of electricity. Rapid increase in the power conversion efficiency of organic solar cells (OSCs) has been achieved with the development of non-fullerene small-molecule acceptors. Next generation photovoltaics based upon environmentally benign “green [...] Read more.
Organic solar cells have the potential to become the cheapest form of electricity. Rapid increase in the power conversion efficiency of organic solar cells (OSCs) has been achieved with the development of non-fullerene small-molecule acceptors. Next generation photovoltaics based upon environmentally benign “green solvent” processing of organic semiconductors promise a step-change in the adaptability and versatility of solar technologies and promote sustainable development. However, high-performing OSCs are still processed by halogenated (non-environmentally friendly) solvents, so hindering their large-scale manufacture. In this perspective, we discuss the recent progress in developing highly efficient OSCs processed from eco-compatible solvents, and highlight research challenges that should be addressed for the future development of high power conversion efficiencies devices. Full article
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27 pages, 5307 KiB  
Review
Organic Semiconductor Micro/Nanocrystals for Laser Applications
by Javier Álvarez-Conde, Eva M. García-Frutos and Juan Cabanillas-Gonzalez
Molecules 2021, 26(4), 958; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26040958 - 11 Feb 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3582
Abstract
Organic semiconductor micro/nanocrystals (OSMCs) have attracted great attention due to their numerous advantages such us free grain boundaries, minimal defects and traps, molecular diversity, low cost, flexibility and solution processability. Due to all these characteristics, they are strong candidates for the next generation [...] Read more.
Organic semiconductor micro/nanocrystals (OSMCs) have attracted great attention due to their numerous advantages such us free grain boundaries, minimal defects and traps, molecular diversity, low cost, flexibility and solution processability. Due to all these characteristics, they are strong candidates for the next generation of electronic and optoelectronic devices. In this review, we present a comprehensive overview of these OSMCs, discussing molecular packing, the methods to control crystallization and their applications to the area of organic solid-state lasers. Special emphasis is given to OSMC lasers which self-assemble into geometrically defined optical resonators owing to their attractive prospects for tuning/control of light emission properties through geometrical resonator design. The most recent developments together with novel strategies for light emission tuning and effective light extraction are presented. Full article
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30 pages, 8638 KiB  
Review
BODIPY-Based Molecules, a Platform for Photonic and Solar Cells
by Benedetta Maria Squeo, Lucia Ganzer, Tersilla Virgili and Mariacecilia Pasini
Molecules 2021, 26(1), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26010153 - 31 Dec 2020
Cited by 50 | Viewed by 4253
Abstract
The 4,4-difluoro-4-bora-3a,4a-diaza-s-indacene (BODIPY)-based molecules have emerged as interesting material for optoelectronic applications. The facile structural modification of BODIPY core provides an opportunity to fine-tune its photophysical and optoelectronic properties thanks to the presence of eight reactive sites which allows for the developing of [...] Read more.
The 4,4-difluoro-4-bora-3a,4a-diaza-s-indacene (BODIPY)-based molecules have emerged as interesting material for optoelectronic applications. The facile structural modification of BODIPY core provides an opportunity to fine-tune its photophysical and optoelectronic properties thanks to the presence of eight reactive sites which allows for the developing of a large number of functionalized derivatives for various applications. This review will focus on BODIPY application as solid-state active material in solar cells and in photonic devices. It has been divided into two sections dedicated to the two different applications. This review provides a concise and precise description of the experimental results, their interpretation as well as the conclusions that can be drawn. The main current research outcomes are summarized to guide the readers towards the full exploitation of the use of this material in optoelectronic applications. Full article
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