Organic photovoltaic cells (OPVs) are promising solar electric energy conversion systems with impressive recent optimization of active layers. OPV optimization must now be accompanied by the development of new charge-selective contacts and interlayers. This Perspective considers the role of interface science in energy harvesting using OPVs, looking back at early photoelectrochemical (photogalvanic) energy conversion platforms, which suffered from a lack of charge carrier selectivity. We then examine recent platforms and the fundamental aspects of selective harvesting of holes and electrons at opposite contacts. For blended heterojunction OPVs, contact/interlayer design is especially critical because charge harvesting competes with recombination at these same contacts. New interlayer materials can modify contacts to both control work function and introduce selectivity and chemical compatibility with nonpolar active layers and add thermodynamic and kinetic selectivity to charge harvesting. We briefly discuss the surface and interface science required for the development of new interlayer materials and take a look ahead at the challenges yet to be faced in their optimization.
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