Unraveling sunlight by transparent organic semiconductors toward photovoltaic and photosynthesis

Yuqiang Liu, Pei Cheng*, Tengfei Li, Rui Wang, Yaowen Li, Sheng Yung Chang, Yuan Zhu, Hao Wen Cheng, Kung-Hwa Wei, Xiaowei Zhan, Baoquan Sun, Yang Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Because the visible and the infrared (IR) regions take up ∼47% and ∼51% of the energy in the solar spectrum (AM 1.5G standard), respectively, utilizing the visible light for plant growth and the IR light for power generation is potentially extremely exciting. IR-absorbing organic semiconductors, with localized IR absorption and visible-light transmittance, would be promising materials for this purpose. Here, flexible transparent organic photovoltaics (TOPVs) based on IR-absorbing organic materials were proposed, which can be a simple, low-cost, and promising way to utilize the IR light for electricity generation, and the penetrated visible light will be utilized for photosynthesis in plants. A power-conversion efficiency of ∼10% with an average visible transmittance of 34% was achieved for TOPV devices. Meanwhile, the side-by-side comparison showed that plants grown under the TOPVs filtered light, and those under normal sunlight yielded very similar results. These outcomes demonstrated the results from TOPV devices beyond simple photovoltaic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1071-1077
Number of pages7
JournalACS Nano
Issue number2
StatePublished - 26 Feb 2019


  • Flexible
  • Infrared light
  • Organic photovoltaic
  • Photosynthesis
  • Transparent

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