Major advancement in fabrication of low-cost solar cells additionally locks up greenhouse gases

Jun 3, 2021 02:00 PM ET
  • Perovskite solar cells have advanced in recent years with quick boosts in power conversion performance (from 3% in 2006 to 25.5% today), making them more affordable with silicon-based photovoltaic cells. Nevertheless, a number of difficulties remain prior to they can become an affordable industrial technology.
Major advancement in fabrication of low-cost solar cells additionally locks up greenhouse gases
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Now a team at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering has actually created a process to solve among them, a traffic jam in a crucial action including p-type doping of organic hole-transporting materials within the photovoltaic cells. The research, "CO2 doping of organic interlayers for perovskite solar cells," shows up in Nature.

Currently, the p-doping process, attained by the access as well as diffusion of oxygen into the hole carrying layer, is time intensive (a number of hours to a day), making industrial mass production of perovskite solar cells unwise.

The Tandon team, led by André D. Taylor, an associate teacher, and also Jaemin Kong, a post-doctoral associate, together with Miguel Modestino, assistant teacher-- done in the Division of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering-- found a technique of significantly enhancing the rate of this vital step through using carbon dioxide (CO2) rather than oxygen.

In perovskite solar cells, doped organic semiconductors are usually required as charge-extraction interlayers positioned between the photoactive perovskite layer and the electrodes. The traditional means of doping these interlayers involves the addition of lithium bis( trifluoromethane) sulfonimide (LiTFSI), a lithium salt, to spiro-OMeTAD, a π-conjugated organic semiconductor widely made use of for a hole-transporting product in perovskite solar cells. The doping procedure is then initiated by subjecting spiro-OMeTAD: LiTFSI blend films to air and light.

Not just is this technique lengthy, it greatly depends upon ambient conditions. By comparison, Taylor as well as his group reported a quick and reproducible doping approach that includes bubbling a spiro-OMeTAD: LiTFSI option with CO2 under ultraviolet light. They located that their process rapidly enhanced electrical conductivity of the interlayer by 100 times contrasted to that of a pristine mix movie, which is also about 10 times more than that gotten from an oxygen bubbling procedure. The CO2 dealt with movie additionally caused stable, high-efficiency perovskite solar cells without any post-treatments.

" Besides shortening the gadget manufacture and processing time, application of the pre-doped spiro-OMeTAD in perovskite solar cells makes the cells far more stable," discussed Kong, the lead author. "That's partly because most of the harmful lithium ions in the spiro-OMeTAD: LiTFSI remedy were maintained as lithium carbonates throughout the CO2 bubbling procedure."

He included that the lithium carbonates wind up being removed when the detectives spincast the pre-doped service onto the perovskite layer. "Thus, we can obtain rather pure doped organic materials for effective opening moving layers."

The team, that included scientists from Samsung, Yale University, Korea Research Study Institute of Chemical Technology, The Graduate Center of the City University, Wonkwang University, as well as the Gwangju Institute of Scientific research and also Technology likewise found that the CO2 doping method can be used for p-type doping of various other π-conjugated polymers, such as PTAA, MEH-PPV, P3HT, as well as PBDB-T. According to Taylor the scientists are looking to push the boundary past regular organic semiconductors used for solar cells.

" Our team believe that wide applicability of CO2 doping to numerous π-conjugated organic particles boosts study ranging from organic solar cells to organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) as well as organic field result transistors (OFETs), also to thermoelectric gadgets that all need regulated doping of organic semiconductors," Taylor clarified, including that considering that this process eats fairly a large amount of CO2 gas, it can be additionally taken into consideration for CO2 capture and sequestration research studies in the future.

" Each time when governments and companies alike are currently aiming to lower CO2 discharges if not to de-carbonize, this research study provides a method for reacting large amounts of CO2 in lithium carbonate to improve future generation solar cells, while removing this greenhouse gas from the environment," he described, adding that the suggestion for this novel method was a counterproductive understanding from the group's battery research.

" From our long background of collaborating with lithium oxygen/air batteries we know that lithium carbonate development from exposure of oxygen electrodes to air is a large obstacle due to the fact that it depletes the battery of lithium ions, which ruins battery ability. In this spiro doping response, however, we are actually exploiting lithium carbonate formation, which binds lithium and also prevents it from ending up being mobile ions damaging to the long-term stability of the perovskite solar cell. We are hoping that this CO2 doping method could be a tipping rock for getting rid of existing difficulties in organic electronics and also past."