Near-Infrared-Absorbing Indolizine-Porphyrin Push-Pull Dye for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

Hammad Cheema, Alexandra Baumann, E. Kirkbride Loya, Phillip Brogdon, Louis E. McNamara, Casey A. Carpenter, Nathan I. Hammer, Simon Mathew, Chad Risko, Jared H. Delcamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Porphyrins are attractive chromophores for application in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs), as judicious tuning of donor-acceptor properties can enable excellent near-infrared (NIR) absorption and exceptional device performance. Here, we report a porphyrin-based dye (SM85) conjugated to the planar strong electron donor, indolizine, designed to extend absorption further into the NIR region by inducing π-πinteractions such as head-to-tail dye aggregation. The optoelectronic consequences of indolizine incorporation in SM85 include raising the ground-state oxidation potential and broadening and red-shifting ultraviolet-visible-NIR absorptions, along with increased molar absorptivity when compared to the dye SM315. Density functional theory (DFT) and time-dependent DFT (TD-DFT) calculations confirm the push-pull character of SM85, which features an overlap of frontier occupied and unoccupied orbitals. Steady-state spectrophotometric analyses reveal the presence of solution aggregates via absorption and emission spectroscopies. Aggregate modes were probed by DFT and TD-DFT analyses, and plausible models are presented. SM85-based DSC devices demonstrate a 5.7% power conversion efficiency (PCE) at full sun (7.4% PCE at 10% sun) with an exceptional improvement to the incident photon-to-current conversion onset at ∼850 nm. Current dynamics measurements, time-correlated single photon counting, and computational analyses are used to better understand device performances. This study puts forward a novel intramolecular charge-transfer porphyrin system with a dramatic shift into the NIR region, as is needed for nonprecious metal-based sensitizers, and provides an example of controlled, donor-acceptor-mediated aggregation as a complementary strategy to traditional donor-acceptor modifications to single-molecule π-systems in accessing enhancements in long wavelength light harvesting in molecular-based optoelectronic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16474-16489
Number of pages16
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 8 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
H.C., A.B., C.A.C., P.B., and J.H.D. thank the National Science Foundation for generous support through award 1455167. L.E.M. and N.I.H. thank the National Science Foundation for supporting through award 1539035. E.K.L. and C.R. thank the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program (award no. N00014-18-1-2448) for their support of this project. Supercomputing resources on the Lipscomb High Performance Computing Cluster were provided by the University of Kentucky Information Technology Department and the Center for Computational Sciences (CCS). Notes The authors declare no competing financial interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Chemical Society.


  • NIR dyes
  • aggregate analysis
  • dye-sensitized solar cells
  • porphyrin
  • proaromatic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (all)


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