Organic photovoltaic cells (OPVs) are emerging field of research in renewable energy. The development of OPVs in recent years has made this technology viable for many niche applications. In order to realize widespread application however, the power conversion efficiency requires further improvement. The efficiency of an OPV depends on the short-circuit current density (JSC), open-circuit voltage (VOC) and fill factor (FF). For state-of-the-art devices, JSC is mostly optimized with the application of novel low-bandgap materials and a bulk heterojunction device architecture (internal quantum efficiency approaching 100%). The remaining limiting factors are the low VOC and FF. This work focuses on overcoming these bottlenecks for improved efficiency. Temperature dependent measurements of device performance are used to examine both charge transfer and exciton ionization process in OPVs. The results permit an improved understanding of the intrinsic limit for VOC in various device architectures and provide insight on device operation. Efforts have also been directed at engineering device architecture for optimized FF, realizing a very high efficiency of 8% for vapor deposited small molecule OPVs. With collaborators, new molecules with tailored desired energy levels are being designed for further improvements in efficiency. A new type of hybrid organic-inorganic perovskite material is also included in this study. By addressing processing issues and anomalous hysteresis effects, a very high efficiency of 19.1% is achieved. Moving forward, topics including engineering film crystallinity, exploring tandem architectures and understanding degradation mechanisms will further push OPVs toward broad commercialization.