Design of two-photon molecular tandem architectures for solar cells by ab initio theory

Chemical Science 6, 3018 - 3025 (2015)

Design of two-photon molecular tandem architectures for solar cells by ab initio theory

Kristian Baruël Ørnsø, Juan Maria Garcia-Lastra, Gema de la Torre,F. J. Himpsel, Angel Rubio, Kristian Sommer Thygesen

An extensive database of spectroscopic properties of molecules from ab initio calculations is used to design molecular complexes for use in tandem solar cells that convert two photons into a single electron-hole pair thereby increasing the output voltage while covering a wider spectral range. Three different architectures are considered: The first two involve a complex consisting of two dye molecules with appropriately matched frontier orbitals, connected by a molecular diode. Optimized combinations of dye molecules are determined by taking advantage of our computational database of the structural and energetic properties of several thousand porphyrin dyes. The third design is a molecular analogy of the intermediate band solar cell, and involves a single dye molecule with strong intersystem crossing to ensure long life time of the intermediate state. Based on the calculated energy levels and molecular orbitals, energy diagrams are presented for the individual steps in the operation of such tandem solar cells. We find that theoretical open circuit voltages of up to 1.8 V can be achieved using these tandem designs. Questions about the practical implementation of prototypical devices, such as the synthesis of the tandem molecules and potential loss mechanisms, are addressed.

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KBØ and KST would like to thank the Danish Council for Independent Research’s DFF-Sapere Aude program (grant no.11-1051390) for financial support. JMGL acknowledges support from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness under Projects FIS2010-21282-C02-01 and FIS2012-30996 and through Ramon y Cajal grant RYC-2011-07782. FJH acknowledges funding by the Department of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences, Contract Nr. DE-SC0006931.AR acknowledges financial support from the European Research Council Advanced Grant DYNamo (ERC-2010- AdG- 267374), Spanish Grant (FIS2013-46159-C3-1-P), Grupos Consolidados UPV/EHU del Gobierno Vasco (IT578-13) and European Community FP7 project CRONOS (Grant number 280879-2).

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