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.
Knowledge of band alignments and heterostructure formations is fundamental for a new generation of optoelectronics based on two-dimensional layered materials. Herein, band alignments and heterostructures of IVB-VIA monolayer MX3 (M = Zr, Hf; X = S, Se) and VIIB-VIA monolayer MX2 (M = Tc, Re; X = S, Se) are calculated by density functional theory with hybrid functionals. The results indicate that for monolayer MX3, the valence bands mainly depend on the p state of the chalcogens and the conduction bands mainly depend on the d state of the transition metals. In contrast, for monolayer MX2, both valence and conduction bands depend on the d state of the transition metals. This suggests that their work functions are obviously different. Meanwhile, the characteristics of the band alignments and the planar-averaged local density of states show that ZrS3, HfS3, TcSe2 and ReS2 could be favorable candidates for photocatalytic water splitting. ZrS3, HfS3 and MX2 with the same structures are able to form type II heterostructures at their interfaces, which could be used for solar energy conversion. The power-conversion efficiency of an MX3 thin-film solar cell is approximately 16-18%, which is higher than those of MX2 thin-film solar cells. In addition, for heterostructures composed of MX3, both of the two kinds of material (M and X) play an important role in every band formation. Meanwhile, for MX2 heterostructures, almost every band depends only on a single material. The charge density difference of the heterostructures demonstrates a higher charge accumulation at the interface of MX3 heterostructures than that of MX2 heterostructures. These phenomena show that type II heterostructures formed of MX3 are more stable than those of MX2.
In the original manuscript, the maximum short-circuit current in Fig. 2 and the description of angular stability for polarization in Fig. 6 are found incorrect owing to negligence. The incorrect maximum integrated absorption also led to errors appeared in Fig. 3 and Fig. 4(d), in which the mistake value was used to plot. In this erratum, all of those mistakes have been corrected. Moreover, both higher Fourier expansion order and the resolution of frequency are adopted in the recalculation to make sure the updated results to be reliable. The updated data presented still support the main conclusions drawn in the previous manuscript.
An aperture-type scanning near-field optical microscope (a-SNOM) is readily used for the optical and optoelectronic characterizations of a wide variety of chemical, biological and optoelectronic samples with sub-wavelength optical resolution. These samples mostly exhibit nanoscale topographic variations, which are related to local material inhomogeneity probed either by an optical contrast or by secondary effects such as photoconductivity or photoluminescence. To date, in the interpretation and evaluation of the measurement results from a-SNOM or derived methods, often only the local material inhomogeneity is taken into account. A possible influence of the optical interaction between the scanning probe and the surface topography is rarely discussed. In this paper, we present experimental and theoretical investigation of the effects of nanoscale topographic features on a-SNOM measurement results. We conduct local photocurrent measurements on a thin-film solar cell with an a-SNOM as the illumination source. A clear correlation between the photocurrent response and local topography is observed in all measurements with a signal contrast of up to ∼30%, although the sample features homogeneous permittivity and electrical properties. With the help of finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulations, this correlation is reproduced and local light coupling is identified as the mechanism which determines the local photocurrent response. Our results suggest that a-SNOM-based measurements of any sample with material inhomogeneity will be superimposed by the local light-coupling effect if surface topography variation exists. This effect should always be taken into consideration for an accurate interpretation of the measurement results.
We report on the initial stages of CdS buffer layer formation on Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGSe) thin-film solar cell absorbers subjected to rubidium fluoride (RbF) post-deposition treatment (PDT). A detailed characterization of the CIGSe/CdS interface for different chemical bath deposition (CBD) times of the CdS layer is obtained from spatially-resolved atomic and Kelvin probe force microscopy and laterally-integrating x-ray spectroscopies. The observed spatial inhomogeneity in the interface structural, chemical, and electronic properties of samples undergoing up to three minutes of CBD treatments is indicative of a complex interface formation including an incomplete coverage and/or non-uniform composition of the buffer layer. It is expected that this result impacts solar cell performance, in particular when reducing the CdS layer thickness (e.g., in an attempt to increase the collection in the ultra-violet wavelength region). Our work provides important findings on the absorber/buffer interface formation and reveals the underlying mechanism for limitations in the reduction of the CdS thickness, even when an alkali PDT is applied to the CIGSe absorber.
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.