Design and photoelectric properties of D-A-π-A carbazole dyes with different π-spacers and acceptors for use in solar cells: a DFT and TD-DFT investigation

  • Yan-Hong CuiEmail author
  • Yongzheng Tong
  • Liang Han
  • Jianrong Gao
  • Ji-Kang Feng
Original Paper


Density functional theory (DFT) and time-dependent DFT (TD-DFT) were used to calculate the properties of the carbazole dyes TYZ-1 to TYZ-5, which differed in their π-spacers. The carbazole dyes TYZ-6 and TYZ-7 were then designed; these were based on TYZ-3 (which had 2,2′:5′,2″-terthiophene as its π-spacer) but had more strongly electron-withdrawing second acceptor groups than TYZ-3. All of these dyes except for TYZ-5 presented quasi-planar conformations, and the calculated energies of their highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) and lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) molecular orbitals as well as their HOMO-LUMO gaps (Eg) suggest that these dyes are suitable for use as sensitizers. Lengthening the π-spacer and increasing its degree of conjugation were found to cause the absorption spectrum of the dye to redshift and to facilitate hole injection. The Eg values of TYZ-6 and TYZ-7 were calculated to be smaller than that of TYZ-3 due to the weaker electron-withdrawing power of the second acceptor group in TYZ-3, and the dyes TYZ-2, TYZ-3, TYZ-6, and TYZ-7 presented the smallest Eg values. Local electron excitations following UV-vis absorption led to electronic transitions, particularly HOMO to LUMO transitions (> 94.3% of all transitions). The excited states of these dyes were found to have quasi-planar conformations, although their dihedral angles were smaller than those in the corresponding ground states. The Stokes Shifts calculated for the seven dyes (which ranged from 51.9 to 98.1 nm) suggested that self-absorption was unlikely to occur. Overall, the calculations indicated that the dyes TYZ-2, TYZ-3, TYZ-6, and TYZ-7 are promising candidates for use in dye-sensitized solar cells.


Dye-sensitized solar cells Carbazole Density functional theory Time-dependent density functional theory 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the funding provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21406202).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Chemical EngineeringZhejiang University of TechnologyZhejiangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Institute Theoretical ChemistryJilin UniversityChangchunPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.College ChemistryJilin UniversityChangchunPeople’s Republic of China

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