Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Copper indium gallium selenide


Ordered CuIn(1 - x)GaxSe2 (CIGS) nanopore films were prepared by one-step electrodeposition based on porous anodized aluminum oxide templates. The as-grown film shows a highly ordered morphology that reproduces the surface pattern of the substrate. Raman spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction pattern show that CIGS nanopore films had ideal chalcopyrite crystallization. Energy dispersive spectroscopy reveals the Cu-Se phases firstly formed in initial stage of growth. Then, indium and gallium were incorporated in the nanopore films in succession. Cu-Se phase is most likely to act as a growth promoter in the growth progress of CIGS nanopore films. Due to the high surface area and porous structure, this kind of CIGS films could have potential application in light-trapping CIGS solar cells and photo electrochemical water splitting.

Concepts: DNA, Spectroscopy, Diffraction, X-ray, Electromagnetic radiation, Hydrogen, X-ray crystallography, Copper indium gallium selenide


Scalable and low-cost doping of graphene could improve technologies in a wide range of fields such as microelectronics, optoelectronics, and energy storage. While achieving strong p-doping is relatively straightforward, non-electrostatic approaches to n-dope graphene, such as chemical doping, have yielded electron densities of 9.5 × 10(12) e/cm(2) or below. Furthermore, chemical doping is susceptible to degradation and can adversely affect intrinsic graphene’s properties. Here we demonstrate strong (1.33 × 10(13) e/cm(2)), robust, and spontaneous graphene n-doping on a soda-lime-glass substrate via surface-transfer doping from Na without any external chemical, high-temperature, or vacuum processes. Remarkably, the n-doping reaches 2.11 × 10(13) e/cm(2) when graphene is transferred onto a p-type copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) semiconductor that itself has been deposited onto soda-lime-glass, via surface-transfer doping from Na atoms that diffuse to the CIGS surface. Using this effect, we demonstrate an n-graphene/p-semiconductor Schottky junction with ideality factor of 1.21 and strong photo-response. The ability to achieve strong and persistent graphene n-doping on low-cost, industry-standard materials paves the way toward an entirely new class of graphene-based devices such as photodetectors, photovoltaics, sensors, batteries, and supercapacitors.

Concepts: Fundamental physics concepts, Neutron, Semiconductor, Thin film, Copper indium gallium selenide, Schottky barrier


Thin-film photovoltaic devices based on chalcopyrite Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGS) absorber layers show excellent light-to-power conversion efficiencies exceeding 20% (refs , ). This high performance level requires a small amount of alkaline metals incorporated into the CIGS layer, naturally provided by soda lime glass substrates used for processing of champion devices. The use of flexible substrates requires distinct incorporation of the alkaline metals, and so far mainly Na was believed to be the most favourable element, whereas other alkaline metals have resulted in significantly inferior device performance. Here we present a new sequential post-deposition treatment of the CIGS layer with sodium and potassium fluoride that enables fabrication of flexible photovoltaic devices with a remarkable conversion efficiency due to modified interface properties and mitigation of optical losses in the CdS buffer layer. The described treatment leads to a significant depletion of Cu and Ga concentrations in the CIGS near-surface region and enables a significant thickness reduction of the CdS buffer layer without the commonly observed losses in photovoltaic parameters. Ion exchange processes, well known in other research areas, are proposed as underlying mechanisms responsible for the changes in chemical composition of the deposited CIGS layer and interface properties of the heterojunction.

Concepts: Chemistry, Sodium, Solar cell, Photovoltaics, Potassium, Energy conversion efficiency, Alkali metal, Copper indium gallium selenide


As an inorganic photoabsorber, selenium was used in a mesoscopic solar cell with a hybrid organic-inorganic structure of TiO2/Se/P3HT/PEDOT:PSS/Ag, in which the Se layer was prepared by vacuum thermal deposition and post thermal treatment. The microstructure, photoelectrical properties, as well as the rationality in structural design of the solar cell were illustrated in detail. Finally, the hybrid solar cell demonstrated a photoelectric conversion efficiency of 2.63%.

Concepts: Photoelectric effect, Solar cell, Energy conversion, Energy conversion efficiency, Selenium, Copper indium gallium selenide, Photovoltaic effect, Aleksandr Stoletov


Copper indium gallium diselenide-based technology provides the most efficient solar energy conversion among all thin-film photovoltaic devices. This is possible due to engineered gallium depth gradients and alkali extrinsic doping. Sodium is well known to impede interdiffusion of indium and gallium in polycrystalline Cu(In,Ga)Se2films, thus influencing the gallium depth distribution. Here, however, sodium is shown to have the opposite effect in monocrystalline gallium-free CuInSe2grown on GaAs substrates. Gallium in-diffusion from the substrates is enhanced when sodium is incorporated into the film, leading to Cu(In,Ga)Se2and Cu(In,Ga)3Se5phase formation. These results show that sodium does not decrease per se indium and gallium interdiffusion. Instead, it is suggested that sodium promotes indium and gallium intragrain diffusion, while it hinders intergrain diffusion by segregating at grain boundaries. The deeper understanding of dopant-mediated atomic diffusion mechanisms should lead to more effective chemical and electrical passivation strategies, and more efficient solar cells.

Concepts: Zinc, Solar cell, Photovoltaics, Energy conversion, Solar energy, Solar power, Copper indium gallium selenide, Solar thermal energy


Semi-transparent perovskite solar cells are highly attractive for a wide range of applications, such as bifacial and tandem solar cells; however, the power conversion efficiency of semi-transparent devices still lags behind due to missing suitable transparent rear electrode or deposition process. Here we report a low-temperature process for efficient semi-transparent planar perovskite solar cells. A hybrid thermal evaporation-spin coating technique is developed to allow the introduction of PCBM in regular device configuration, which facilitates the growth of high-quality absorber, resulting in hysteresis-free devices. We employ high-mobility hydrogenated indium oxide as transparent rear electrode by room-temperature radio-frequency magnetron sputtering, yielding a semi-transparent solar cell with steady-state efficiency of 14.2% along with 72% average transmittance in the near-infrared region. With such semi-transparent devices, we show a substantial power enhancement when operating as bifacial solar cell, and in combination with low-bandgap copper indium gallium diselenide we further demonstrate 20.5% efficiency in four-terminal tandem configuration.

Concepts: Cadmium, Solar cell, Energy conversion, Energy conversion efficiency, Germanium, Diode, Copper indium gallium selenide


Dramatic advances in perovskite solar cells (PSCs) and the blossoming of wearable electronics have triggered tremendous demands for flexible solar-power sources. However, the fracturing of functional crystalline films and transmittance wastage from flexible substrates are critical challenges to approaching the high-performance PSCs with flexural endurance. In this work, a nanocellular scaffold is introduced to architect a mechanics buffer layer and optics resonant cavity. The nanocellular scaffold releases mechanical stresses during flexural experiences and significantly improves the crystalline quality of the perovskite films. The nanocellular optics resonant cavity optimizes light harvesting and charge transportation of devices. More importantly, these flexible PSCs, which demonstrate excellent performance and mechanical stability, are practically fabricated in modules as a wearable solar-power source. A power conversion efficiency of 12.32% for a flexible large-scale device (polyethylene terephthalate substrate, indium tin oxide-free, 1.01 cm(2) ) is achieved. This ingenious flexible structure will enable a new approach for development of wearable electronics.

Concepts: Enzyme, Optics, Solar cell, Energy conversion, Energy conversion efficiency, Solar power, Copper indium gallium selenide, Polyethylene terephthalate


Frequently observed high Voc loss in tin-lead mixed perovskite solar cells (PSCs) is considered to be one of the serious bottle-necks in spite of the high attainable Jsc due to wide wavelength photon harvesting. An amicable solution to minimize the Voc loss up to 0.50 V has been demonstrated by introducing an n-type interface with spike structure between the absorber and electron transport layer inspired by highly efficient CIGS solar cells. Introduction of a conduction band offset of ~0.15 eV with a thin PCBM layer (~ 25 nm) on the top of perovskite absorber resulted into improved Voc of 0.75 V leading to best power conversion efficiency of 17.6%. This enhancement is attributed to the facile charge flow at the interface owing to the reduction of interfacial traps and carrier recombination with spike structure as evidenced by TRPL, ns-TA and EIS measurements.

Concepts: Light, Photoelectric effect, Semiconductor, Solar cell, Energy conversion, Energy conversion efficiency, Electronic band structure, Copper indium gallium selenide


Bulk heterojunction (BHJ) solar cells might one day play a vital role in realizing low-cost and environmentally benign solar cells. In this work, a BHJ solar cell was designed, based on a hexadeca-substituted phthalocyanine (FcPc) with ferrocenyl linked to the phthalocyanine ring. Next, we sought to obtain more quantitative information about the usability of this newly synthesized compound as a donor material in BHJ solar cells. Thus, BHJs with the structure of indium tin oxide/poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene): poly(styrenesulfonate)/FcPc:[6, 6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) blend/LiF/Al were fabricated and characterized. The effect of blend ratio (0.5-2.0) on the BHJ solar cell parameters was also investigated. Interesting results were obtained in FcPc and the PCBM blend-based BHJ solar cell under optimized conditions. Our results presented here demonstrate that BHJ devices employing FcPc as a donor has great potential for the development of highly efficient non-poly(3-hexylthiophen-2,5-diyl) photovoltaic devices.

Concepts: DNA, Cadmium, Solar cell, Photovoltaics, Germanium, Copper indium gallium selenide, P-n junction, Photovoltaic array


An optimization of band alignment at the p-n junction interface is realized on alcohol-based solution-processed Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2 (CIGS) thin film solar cells, achieving a power-conversion-efficiency (PCE) of 14.4%. To obtain a CIGS thin film suitable for interface engineering, a novel “3-step chalcogenization process” is designed for Cu2-xSe-derived grain growth and a double band gap grading structure. Considering S-rich surface of the CIGS thin film, an alternative ternary (Cd,Zn)S buffer layer is adopted to build favorable “spike” type conduction band alignment instead of “cliff” type. Suppression of interface recombination is elucidated by comparing recombination activation energies using a dark J-V-T analysis.

Concepts: Quantum dot, Semiconductor, Solar cell, Thin film solar cell, Diode, Band gap, Copper indium gallium selenide, P-n junction