Rational design of molecular hole–transporting materials for perovskite solar cells: direct versus inverted device configurations

Due to a still limited understanding of the reasons making 2,2/,7,7/–tetrakis(N,N–di–p–methoxyphenylamine)–9,9/–spirobifluorene (Spiro–OMeTAD) the state–of–the–art hole–transporting material (HTM) for emerging photovoltaic applications, the molecular tailoring of organic components for perovskite solar cells (PSCs) lacks in solid design criteria. Charge delocalization in radical cationic states can undoubtedly be considered as one of the essential prerequisites for an HTM, but this aspect has been investigated to a relatively minor extent. In marked contrast with the 3–D structure of Spiro–OMeTAD, truxene–based HTMs Trux1 and Trux2 have been employed for the first time in PSCs fabricated with a direct (nip) or inverted (pin) architecture, exhibiting a peculiar behavior with respect to the referential HTM. Notwithstanding the efficient hole extraction from the perovskite layer exhibited by Trux1 and Trux2 in direct configuration devices, their photovoltaic performances were detrimentally affected by their poor hole transport. Conversely, an outstanding improvement of the photovoltaic performances in dopant–free inverted configuration devices compared to Spiro–OMeTAD was recorded, ascribable to the use of thinner HTM layers. The rationalization of the photovoltaic performances exhibited by different configuration devices discussed in this paper can provide new and unexpected prospects for engineering the interface between the active layer of perovskite–based solar cells and the hole transporters.

Contact person: Luisa De Marco, NANOTEC Lecce