Theoretical study on the effects of nitrogen and methyl substitution on tris-(8-hydroxyquinoline) aluminum: An efficient exciton blocking layer for organic photovoltaic cells

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We studied the effect of nitrogen and methyl substitution on tris-(8-hydroxyquinoline) aluminum (Alq 3) with density functional theory, which has been adopted as an exciton blocking layer (EBL) in organic photovoltaic cells (OPVCs). The substitution of electron withdrawing nitrogen on the phenoxide moiety of Alq 3 lowers the highest molecular orbital (HOMO) level, thus photogenerated excitons can be effectively blocked in OPVC. Additional substitution of methyl on the pyridine moiety makes that Alq 3 has a smaller electron reorganization energy, which results in higher electron mobility with keeping HOMO level almost intact. Therefore, nitrogen and methyl simultaneous substitution shows high performance both in exciton blocking and electron mobility. This is the origins of the short circuit current enhancement in OPVC with 4-hydroxy-8-methyl-1,5-naphthyridine aluminum chelate (Alq 3 with the substitution of both nitrogen and methyl group) EBL.

Original languageEnglish
Article number034704
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jul 21


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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