Breaking New Ground in Small-Molecule Semiconductor Synthesis: FAU Solar’s High-Throughput Advancement

The synthesis of solution-processable small-molecule semiconductors presents a unique opportunity for accelerating innovation in solution processed photovoltaics (PV). This recent breakthrough in small-molecule semiconductor research by FAU Solar members has the potential to revolutionize the field in several key ways:

Rapid Material Discovery: The availability of a multitude of diverse molecules allows for accelerated material discovery in the realm of organic PV. Researchers can explore a wide range of molecular structures, potentially leading to the development of more efficient and cost-effective materials for solar energy conversion.

Machine Learning Integration: The use of experimental data generated from this diverse material library can serve as a valuable dataset for machine learning algorithms. This data-driven approach can enhance our understanding of the relationships between molecular structure and optical-electronic properties, facilitating the design of more efficient organic PV materials through computational methods.

Overcoming Complexity: While the diversity in molecular structure may introduce complexity in properties such as solubility, polarity, and crystallinity, the breakthrough integrates theoretical calculations and a robotic platform to streamline the purification process. This innovation addresses the challenge of complexity, making it more feasible to process and utilize a wide range of materials in organic PV applications.

High-Throughput Synthesis: The integrated system developed by FAU Solar researchers enables high-throughput synthesis, purification, and characterization of molecules. This means that researchers can create and evaluate a substantial number of materials in a relatively short period, accelerating the pace of innovation in organic PV.

Repeatability and Reliability: The high repeatability of the recrystallization approach is crucial for ensuring consistent and reliable results. This reliability is essential for further advancements in organic PV and the potential transition to industrial-scale production.

Material Library: The creation of a material library comprising 125 molecules and their optical-electronic properties in a matter of weeks is a significant achievement. This library serves as a valuable resource for researchers in the field, offering a wide range of materials to explore and experiment with.

Industrial Potential: The breakthrough not only advances the fundamental science of small-molecule semiconductors but also holds promise for potential industrial production. Reliable and efficient methods for synthesizing and purifying materials are essential for scaling up production processes for organic PV technologies.

In summary, FAU Solar’s integrated system for small-molecule semiconductor research represents a pivotal advancement that has the potential to accelerate innovation in organic PV. It streamlines material discovery, facilitates machine learning-based design, overcomes complexity challenges, and promises repeatability and reliability, all of which are crucial for the continued progress of this renewable energy technology.


Link to the original publication in JACS (open access)

Open Access on ArXiv

Contributing FAU Solar Researchers: Eugenia Perez-Ojeda, Olga Kasian, Dirk Guldi, Anastasia Barabash, and Christoph J. Brabec