Oligothiophene-based photovoltaic materials for organic solar cells: rise, plateau, and revival

Tainan Duan*, Qianqian Chen, Dingqin Hu, Jie Lv, Donghong Yu, Gang Li*, Shirong Lu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Oligothiophene derivatives have been positioned as one of the most promising donor materials in cost-effectiveness and large-scale production of organic solar cells (OSCs). Oligothiophene donors have been popularized in the era of fullerenes but have not been successful as nonfullerene acceptors (NFAs). The recent report of over 15% power conversion efficiency (PCE) for OSCs has attracted research interest in these materials. Herein, the development of oligothiophene-based photovoltaic materials and their applications in OSCs are chronologically presented. The evolution of oligothiophene donors and milestone materials are highlighted and results on oligothiophene-based NFAs are included. To offer guidance and spur further development of oligothiophene-based photovoltaic materials, we propose a perspective on future trends in the molecular design and applications of oligothiophene donors/acceptors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Chemistry
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)773-791
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported by Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS (No. 2019373 ), Chongqing Funds for Distinguished Young Scientists ( cstc2020jcyj-jqX0018 ), Natural Science Foundation of Chongqing ( cstc2019jcyj-msxmX0497 ), National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 62074149 ), Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (Project nos. 15221320, C5037-18G), Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Joint Laboratory for Photonic-Thermal-Electrical Energy Materials and Devices (GDSTC no. 2019B121205001), and Hong Kong Polytechnic University (8-8480, CDA5).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.


  • molecule engineering
  • nonfullerene acceptor
  • oligothiophene
  • organic solar cells
  • small molecule donor


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