Concept: Anwell Technologies Limited
We demonstrate four- and two-terminal perovskite-perovskite tandem solar cells with ideally matched band gaps. We develop an infrared-absorbing 1.2-electron volt band-gap perovskite, FA0.75Cs0.25Sn0.5Pb0.5I3, that can deliver 14.8% efficiency. By combining this material with a wider-band gap FA0.83Cs0.17Pb(I0.5Br0.5)3 material, we achieve monolithic two-terminal tandem efficiencies of 17.0% with >1.65-volt open-circuit voltage. We also make mechanically stacked four-terminal tandem cells and obtain 20.3% efficiency. Notably, we find that our infrared-absorbing perovskite cells exhibit excellent thermal and atmospheric stability, not previously achieved for Sn-based perovskites. This device architecture and materials set will enable “all-perovskite” thin-film solar cells to reach the highest efficiencies in the long term at the lowest costs.
Quasi-random nanostructures have attracted significant interests for photon management purposes. To optimize such patterns, typically very expensive fabrication processes are needed to create the pre-designed, subwavelength nanostructures. While quasi-random photonic nanostructures are abundant in nature (for example, in structural coloration), interestingly, they also exist in Blu-ray movie discs, an already mass-produced consumer product. Here we uncover that Blu-ray disc patterns are surprisingly well suited for light-trapping applications. While the algorithms in the Blu-ray industrial standard were developed with the intention of optimizing data compression and error tolerance, they have also created quasi-random arrangement of islands and pits on the final media discs that are nearly optimized for photon management over the solar spectrum, regardless of the information stored on the discs. As a proof-of-concept, imprinting polymer solar cells with the Blu-ray patterns indeed increases their efficiencies. Simulation suggests that Blu-ray patterns could be broadly applied for solar cells made of other materials.
Three-dimensional organic-inorganic perovskites have emerged as one of the most promising thin-film solar cell materials owing to their remarkable photophysical properties, which have led to power conversion efficiencies exceeding 20 per cent, with the prospect of further improvements towards the Shockley-Queisser limit for a single-junction solar cell (33.5 per cent). Besides efficiency, another critical factor for photovoltaics and other optoelectronic applications is environmental stability and photostability under operating conditions. In contrast to their three-dimensional counterparts, Ruddlesden-Popper phases-layered two-dimensional perovskite films-have shown promising stability, but poor efficiency at only 4.73 per cent. This relatively poor efficiency is attributed to the inhibition of out-of-plane charge transport by the organic cations, which act like insulating spacing layers between the conducting inorganic slabs. Here we overcome this issue in layered perovskites by producing thin films of near-single-crystalline quality, in which the crystallographic planes of the inorganic perovskite component have a strongly preferential out-of-plane alignment with respect to the contacts in planar solar cells to facilitate efficient charge transport. We report a photovoltaic efficiency of 12.52 per cent with no hysteresis, and the devices exhibit greatly improved stability in comparison to their three-dimensional counterparts when subjected to light, humidity and heat stress tests. Unencapsulated two-dimensional perovskite devices retain over 60 per cent of their efficiency for over 2,250 hours under constant, standard (AM1.5G) illumination, and exhibit greater tolerance to 65 per cent relative humidity than do three-dimensional equivalents. When the devices are encapsulated, the layered devices do not show any degradation under constant AM1.5G illumination or humidity. We anticipate that these results will lead to the growth of single-crystalline, solution-processed, layered, hybrid, perovskite thin films, which are essential for high-performance opto-electronic devices with technologically relevant long-term stability.
A metal-organic hybrid perovskite (CH3NH3PbI3) with three-dimensional framework of metal-halide octahedra has been reported as a low-cost, solution-processable absorber for a thin-film solar cell with a power-conversion efficiency over 20%. Low-dimensional layered perovskites with metal halide slabs separated by the insulating organic layers are reported to show higher stability, but the efficiencies of the solar cells are limited by the confinement of excitons. In order to explore the confinement and transport of excitons in zero-dimensional metal-organic hybrid materials, a highly orientated film of (CH3NH3)3Bi2I9 with nanometre-sized core clusters of Bi2I9(3-) surrounded by insulating CH3NH3(+) was prepared via solution processing. The (CH3NH3)3Bi2I9 film shows highly anisotropic photoluminescence emission and excitation due to the large proportion of localised excitons coupled with delocalised excitons from intercluster energy transfer. The abrupt increase in photoluminescence quantum yield at excitation energy above twice band gap could indicate a quantum cutting due to the low dimensionality.Understanding the confinement and transport of excitons in low dimensional systems will aid the development of next generation photovoltaics. Via photophysical studies Ni et al. observe ‘quantum cutting’ in 0D metal-organic hybrid materials based on methylammonium bismuth halide (CH3NH3)3Bi2I9.
A major bottleneck delaying the further commercialization of thin-film solar cells based on hybrid organohalide lead perovskites is the interface losses in state-of-the-art devices. We present a generic interface architecture that combines solution-processed, reliable, and cost-efficient hole-transporting materials, without compromising efficiency, stability or scalability of perovskite solar cells. Tantalum doped tungsten oxide (Ta-WO x )/conjugated polymer multilayers offer a surprisingly small interface barrier and form quasi-ohmic contacts universally with various scalable conjugated polymers. Using a simple regular planar architecture device, Ta-WO x doped interface-based perovskite solar cells achieve maximum efficiencies of 21.2% and combined with over 1000 hours of light stability based on a self-assembled monolayer. By eliminating additional ionic dopants, these findings open up the whole class of organics as scalable hole-transporting materials for perovskite solar cells.
Silver nanowires in conjunction with sputter-coated Al-doped ZnO (AZO) thin films were used as a composite transparent top electrode for hybrid radial-junction ZnO nanowire/a-Si:H p-i-n thin-film solar cells. Solar cells with the composite nanowire top contacts attained a short-circuit current density (Jsc) of 13.9 mA/cm(2) and a fill factor (FF) of 62% on glass substrates while a Jsc of 13.0 mA/cm(2) and FF of 62% was achieved on plastic substrates. The power conversion efficiency (PCE) of the 3-dimensional solar cells improved by up to 60% compared to using AZO electrodes alone due to enhanced coverage of the top electrode over the 3-D structures, decreasing the series resistance of the device by 5×. The composite layer also showed a 10× reduction in sheet resistance compared to the AZO thin-film contact under applied mechanical strain.
Owing to the high charge mobility and low processing temperature, ZnO is regarded as an ideal candidate for electron transport layer (ETL) material in thin-film solar cells. For the film preparation, the presently dominated sol-gel (SG) and hydrolysis-condensation (HC) methods show great potential, however, the effect of these two methods on the performance of the resulting devices has not been investigated in the same frame. In this study, the ZnO films made through SG and HC methods were applied in perovskite solar cells (Pero-SCs), and the performances of corresponding devices were compared under parallel conditions. We found that the surface morphology and the conductivity of the films prepared by SG and HC methods showed great differences. The HC-ZnO films with flat surface and higher conductivity led to relatively higher device performance, and the best PCE of 12.9% was obtained, while for Pero-SCs based on SG-ZnO, the best PCE achieved was 10.9%. The better device performance of Pero-SCs based on HC-ZnO should be attributed to the better charge extraction and transportation ability of HC-ZnO film. Moreover, to further enhance the performance of Pero-SCs, a thin layer of pristine C60 was introduced between HC-ZnO and perovskite layers. By doing so, the quality of perovskite films were improved, and the PCE was elevated to 14.1%. The preparation HC-ZnO film involves relatively lower temperature (maximum 100 (○)C) processing, and the films showed better charge extraction and transportation properties, and can be a more promising ETL material in Pero-SCs.
Using density-functional theory calculations, we analyze the optical absorption properties of lead (Pb)-free metal halide perovskites (AB(2+)X3) and double perovskites (AB(+)B(3+)X6) (A = Cs or monovalent organic ion, B(2+) = non-Pb divalent metal, B(+) = monovalent metal, B(3+) = trivalent metal, X = halogen). We show that, if B(2+) is not Sn or Ge, Pb-free metal halide perovskites exhibit poor optical absorptions because of their indirect bandgap nature. Among the nine possible types of Pb-free metal halide double perovskites, six have direct bandgaps. Of these six types, four show inversion symmetry-induced parity-forbidden or weak transitions between band edges, making them not ideal for thin-film solar cell application. Only one type of Pb-free double perovskite shows optical absorption and electronic properties suitable for solar cell applications, namely those with B(+) = In, Tl and B(3+) = Sb, Bi. Our results provide important insights for designing new metal halide perovskites and double perovskites for optoelectronic applications.
Recently, liquid phase crystallization of thin silicon films has emerged as a candidate for thin-film photovoltaics. On 10 μm thin absorbers, wafer-equivalent morphologies and open-circuit voltages were reached, leading to 13.2% record efficiency. However, short-circuit current densities are still limited, mainly due to optical losses at the glass-silicon interface. While nano-structures at this interface have been shown to efficiently reduce reflection, up to now these textures caused a deterioration of electronic silicon material quality. Therefore, optical gains were mitigated due to recombination losses. Here, the SMooth Anti-Reflective Three-dimensional (SMART) texture is introduced to overcome this trade-off. By smoothing nanoimprinted SiO x nano-pillar arrays with spin-coated TiO x layers, light in-coupling into laser-crystallized silicon solar cells is significantly improved as successfully demonstrated in three-dimensional simulations and in experiment. At the same time, electronic silicon material quality is equivalent to that of planar references, allowing to reach V oc values above 630 mV. Furthermore, the short-circuit current density could be increased from 21.0 mA cm(-2) for planar reference cells to 24.5 mA cm(-2) on SMART textures, a relative increase of 18%. External quantum efficiency measurements yield an increase for wavelengths up to 700 nm compared to a state-of-the-art solar cell with 11.9% efficiency, corresponding to a j sc, EQE gain of 2.8 mA cm(-2).
Efforts to realize thin-film solar cells on unconventional substrates face several obstacles in achieving good energy-conversion efficiency and integrating light-management into the solar cell design. In this report a technique to circumvent these obstacles is presented: transferability and an efficient light-harvesting scheme are combined for thin-film silicon solar cells by the incorporation of a NaCl layer. Amorphous silicon solar cells in p-i-n configuration are fabricated on reusable glass substrates coated with an interlayer of NaCl. Subsequently, the solar cells are detached from the substrate by dissolution of the sacrificial NaCl layer in water and then transferred onto a plastic sheet, with a resultant post-transfer efficiency of 9%. The light-trapping effect of the surface nanotextures originating from the NaCl layer on the overlying solar cell is studied theoretically and experimentally. The enhanced light absorption in the solar cells on NaCl-coated substrates leads to significant improvement in the photocurrent and energy-conversion efficiency in solar cells with both 350 and 100 nm thick absorber layers, compared to flat-substrate solar cells. Efficient transferable thin-film solar cells hold a vast potential for widespread deployment of off-grid photovoltaics and cost reduction.