Microscopic service provider loss mechanisms in kesterite-based solar cells with a 12% performance

Aug 25, 2022 11:41 AM ET
  • Kesterite Cu2ZnSn( S, Se) 4 is an arising and assuring green photovoltaic or pv material, as it is abundant in the world, does not harm the environment, as well as has a steady structure, a fantastic tunability and also advantageous optoelectronic homes. Despite their qualities, solar cells based upon kesterite normally have poor power conversion efficiencies, which hinder their commercialization and also large-scale implementation.
Microscopic service provider loss mechanisms in kesterite-based solar cells with a 12% performance
Image: Li et al

Researchers at the University of New South Wales in Sydney have just recently executed a research focused on much better recognizing the mechanisms that advertise microscopic provider losses in kesterite solar cells, minimizing their efficiencies. Their searchings for, published in Nature Energy, can ultimately aid to facilitate the large-scale implementation of this promising class of solar cells.

" The study community has encountered a grand difficulty in enhancing the efficiency of kesterite solar cells which is associated with the unprecedented complexity of the product system in addition to the carrier loss mechanisms," Jianjun Li, one of the researchers who performed the research study, informed TechXplore. "It has been a long argument regarding which provider loss mechanism is controling in current state-of-the-art kesterite solar cells."

Comprehending the mechanisms underpinning carrier loss in certain sorts of solar cells is a necessary step in their development as well as commercialization. The essential purpose of the current work by Li and his colleagues was to identify the leading loss mechanisms in state-of-the-art kesterite solar cells. The scientists additionally wanted to design a framework that would certainly allow them and various other teams to dynamically assess the leading loss mechanisms in solar cells based upon different arising polycrystalline thin films, consisting of kesterite along with antimony chalcogenides, perovskites, and other products

" In spite of the wonderful assurance, the full possibility of kesterite is far to be tapped," Xiaojing Hao, another researcher involved in the study, informed TechXplore. "The current highest performance is 13.6% on laboratory scale cells, which is much less than their commercialized counterparts' > 22% effectiveness (for CIGS (CuInGa( S, Se) 2) and also CdTe solar cells). Nonetheless, according to theoretical predictions, its effectiveness needs to be as high as > 30%.".

Several previous studies have actually linked energy losses in kesterite-based solar cells to bulk point defects and interfacial defects. This has caused the growth of various strategies to lower these energy losses, boosting the performance of kesterite cells to over 12%.

" An important fact that has actually been largely overlooked in previous researches is that great microscale inhomogeneity can exist in the polycrystalline thin-film," Hao explained. "For example, grain limit and also grain surface could have much bigger recombination velocity than that in grain insides. Therefore, recognizing the carrier loss mechanisms at these microscopic areas is important to identify where the research study efforts must be routed.".

Li, Hao as well as their colleagues intended to improve the understanding of kesterite solar cells, to make sure that they can catch up to CdTe and also chalcopyrite CIGSSe cells, which are currently on the market. To do this, they integrated a theoretical framework with three-dimensional (3D) solar cell simulations.

" Although some residential or commercial properties of the grain insides and grain borders, such as intragrain crystallinity defects and band flexing at the grain borders, have been investigated in the past, using high-resolution structural and also electric evaluation specifically, thorough loss mechanisms in these microscopic regions, particularly grain border recombination and grain indoor provider life time as well as their impact on the device efficiency, stay unknown," Hao claimed. "In our recent work, we reveal the microscopic carrier loss mechanisms in our document effectiveness (> 12%) Cu2ZnSnSe4 (CZTSe) solar cells by establishing a framework that links micro-to-macro-scale structural, electrical as well as photoelectrical characterizations with three-dimensional solar cell device simulations.".

The simulations accomplished by the researchers were based on a 3D unit cell that reproduced the shape of kesterite solar cells they had actually developed, using SEM as well as STEM pictures of the cells. The researchers experimentally gotten photo-electronic parameters of the cells, including their free service provider density, potential fluctuation, bandgap grading and also analytical average SGB (non-radiative recombination velocity at the grain boundaries). All of these specifications were integrated right into their simulation model.

" Intragrain electron and hole life times and mobilities can be obtained by matching the experimental J-- V as well as EQE," Hao said "Specifically, the non-radiative recombination velocity at grain limits and also grain insides is first qualitatively contrasted by executing cathodoluminescence (CL) mapping on a directly cleaved cross-sectional CZTSSe device.".

The researchers used different microscopic as well as macroscopic characterizations of solar cells they had actually created to estimate the provider transport at the device's front and also rear interfaces. This permitted them to identify carrier recombination mechanisms in both the grain interiors as well as at grain boundaries, but likewise to approximate the focus and change of carriers.

In their measurements, the group discovered that in the region they measured all grain limits showed a pronouncedly lower CL strength than that located in the gain insides. This recommends that the grain boundaries have a much larger non-radiative recombination velocity than the grain insides.

" Apparently, grain boundary recombination is dominating the service provider loss that we observed from EBIC (electron beam generated current) pictures," Hao stated. "This is an exciting, reducing, and also yet reasonable outcome. It is really the incentive for the above-mentioned general made framework incorporating the characterizations and 3D solar device simulation to acquire the provider recombination velocity at grain border and lifetime of grain interior and succeeding course towards beyond 20% performance.".

Essentially, making use of measurements, simulations as well as estimations, Li, Hao as well as their colleagues were able to create a 3D substitute model of their device. This model helped them to reveal the primary microscale carrier mechanisms influencing the solar cells' efficiency.

The team showed that grain limit recombination limits the effective service provider lifetime of bulk kesterite. They found that the linked grain limit recombination velocity of kesterite, at a level of 104 centimeters s − 1, is one to two orders of magnitude larger than that of CIGSSe as well as CdTe; while the intragrain minority service provider life time is approximated to be 10-- 30 ns and also the internet provider density around 1.8 × 1015 centimeters − 3.

" It seems that the well-recognized open-circuit voltage (VOC) losses as a result of bandgap change and/or electrostatic potential variation are tiny," Hao claimed. "Rather, the controling loss mechanisms of current state-of-the-art CZTSe solar cells are associated with the serious non-radiative recombination at grain boundaries. These findings indicate the service provider loss mechanisms of kesterite CZTSe is more like the historical CdTe instead of the long-believed chalcopyrite (CIGS).".

The current work by this team of scientists reveals that kesterite might have a remarkably big intragrain electron life time of 10-30 ns and also huge intragrain hole mobility of 30-- 50 cm2V-1s-1. These values highlight the massive possibility of the product for the production of efficient solar cells and also various other optoelectronic devices, including photodetectors and also photocathodes for photoelectrochemical (PEC) devices.

" We showed that the bulk high quality of our kesterite materials is much better than gotten out of the community and that the key issue of the reduced bandgap kesterite solar cells is the inner interfaces (grain borders), which is an extremely unusual yet practical finding," Li stated. "We now hope to find out more regarding the grain borders of kesterite products, as well as to design a correct technique to cure the grain borders of kesterite materials as the historical grain boundary passivation of the commercialized Chalcopyrite (CIGS) and CdTe thin-film solar cells.".

In the future, the searchings for collected by Hao, Li and their colleagues might pave the way in the direction of the development of kesterite-based devices with efficiencies of over 20%. On top of that, the design they created could be utilized to better recognize the underpinnings of complex solar technologies based on thin films of other arising products.

" Based upon this work, additional efficiency renovation towards beyond 20% performance needs considerable grain boundary passivation and rise of net service provider density," Hao added. "Our following research studies will be focused on comprehending the defects at grain boundary of kesterites and establishing grain boundary passivation techniques.".

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