Organic photodiodes from homochiral l-proline derived squaraine compounds with strong circular dichroism.


We suggest and explore a novel route towards organic photodetectors sensitive to the circular polarization state of light. For this, we insert fullerene-blended thin films of homochiral squaraine compounds acting as a highly circular dichroic active layer into conventional bulk hetero-junction photodiodes. Initially, we discuss steady-state characterization of photodiodes with unpolarized light. The homochiral, L-proline derived squaraine compounds are obtained via a chiral pool synthesis in sizable quantities. The aggregation behavior of the two compounds with varying side chain length is complex. They exhibit H-type spectral signatures only in colloidal solution, and both H- and J-type features with large splitting in neat and fullerene-blended thin films.

We probe strong excitonic circular dichroism for both aggregate species, showing the most competitive dissymmetry factors up to −0.055 in fullerene-blended thin films. We vary the blend ratio and layer thickness of such active layers in the photodiodes. The device performance is in all cases limited by a low fill factor which is accompanied by a voltage-dependent photocurrent. Current–voltage measurements show light intensity dependent characteristics, which are S-shaped, contrary to our expectations, only for thin active layers independent of the blend ratio.

The external quantum efficiency is in some cases extraordinarily high, exceeding 100 percent in the blue spectral range under modest reverse bias voltages for thin, fullerene-rich devices. However, the most promising are the devices with thick, donor-rich layers defined by a spectral overlap of the strongest photocurrent response and the maximum circular dichroism within the green spectral range. Thus, we demonstrate the feasibility of combining photodiode functionality and strong circular dichroism as intrinsic material properties.


Schulz, M., Mack, M., Kolloge, O., Lützen, A. and Schiek, M., 2017. Organic photodiodes from homochiral l-proline derived squaraine compounds with strong circular dichroism. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 19(10), pp.6996-7008.

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Categories: Solar & Photovoltaics

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