Researchers develop a lot more reliable perovskite solar cell

Apr 13, 2023 01:29 PM ET
  • A team of scientists from the University of Toronto has developed a triple-junction perovskite solar cell with record performance by getting over an essential restriction of previous layouts.
Researchers develop a lot more reliable perovskite solar cell
Image: Tyler Irving, University of Toronto

The prototype represents a significant breakthrough in the growth of low-cost alternatives to silicon-based solar cells, which are the present industry requirement.

" Along with lower manufacturing price, perovskites offer us the ability to pile multiple layers of light-absorbing products on top of each other, and also in addition to conventional silicon cells," claims Professor Ted Sargent, that lately signed up with the division of chemistry as well as the division of electric and also computer system engineering at Northwestern University however preserves his lab at U of T's Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

" In this work, we utilized logical style to deal with an important challenge that can occur in this multi-layered paradigm, boosting both effectiveness as well as durability."

Today's solar cells are made from a single wafer of ultra-pure silicon, which is energy-intensive to produce. By comparison, perovskite solar cells are made using perovskite polycrystalline films that are covered onto surfaces with inexpensive, solution-processing techniques similar to those used in the printing industry.

By differing the composition of the perovskite crystals within these films, each layer can be "tuned" to absorb various wavelengths of light, making reliable use the entire solar spectrum. This is not possible with silicon, which constantly absorbs the same wavelengths.

Sargent's group is among those establishing brand-new methods to unlock the possibility of perovskite solar cells. Their previous work has included two-layered tandem cells, but their latest study, released in Nature, focuses on a three-layer design.

" Multi-layered cells are usually designed to make sure that the leading layer with wide-bandgap perovskites absorbs one of the most energetic photons, suggesting high-frequency light with short wavelengths, toward the violet end of the spectrum," says post-doctoral researcher Zaiwei Wang, one of 4 co-lead authors on the new paper.

" The next layer will certainly absorb tool wavelengths and also the bottom one will certainly absorb longer wavelengths. Yet it remains in the top layer that we get the challenge of light-induced phase separation."

The team utilized a sort of perovskite product called ABX3, which is made from a mix of various substances-- including cesium, lead, tin, iodine, bromine as well as some tiny organic molecules. The leading layer, specifically, is made up of combined halide perovskites, which have a high proportion of bromine as well as iodine.

" What occurs in light-induced phase separation of these mixed perovskites is that the bombardment of high-frequency photons triggers the phases that are richer in bromine to obtain separated from those that are abundant in iodine," states Hao Chen, a post-doctoral researcher as well as co-lead author of the study.

" This leads to a boost in defects as well as a reduction in total performance."

To conquer this problem, the research team made use of detailed computer system models to imitate the result of altering the composition of the crystals. This work suggested 2 adjustments: eliminating the organic molecules for an all-inorganic perovskite framework as well as introducing the element rubidium.

" The introduction of rubidium suppresses the light-induced phase separation issue," states Tong Zhu, one more post-doctoral scientist and also co-lead author.

" Our rubidium/cesium blended inorganic perovskites reveal better light stability than [various other] perovskite products, consisting of cesium-based inorganic perovskites and also widely used organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites with similar band gaps."

Utilizing this knowledge, the team then created as well as built a triple-junction cell with this structure. They gauged its effectiveness at 24.3 percent with an open-circuit voltage of 3.21 volts. They also sent it to be independently certified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which gauged a quasi-steady-state efficiency of 23.3 percent.

" In the past, triple-junction perovskite solar cells have actually demonstrated a maximum performance of around 20 percent, so this is a big renovation. To our knowledge, this is also the initial reported accreditation effectiveness of triple-junction perovskite solar cells," states Ph.D. prospect Lewei Zeng, an additional co-lead author.

" Previous styles additionally tended to shed a great deal of their performance in a matter of hrs. By comparison, ours kept 80 percent of its preliminary effectiveness also after 420 hrs of procedure-- so that's a big action in regards to toughness also."

The team states that although additional renovations to the performance will certainly be needed prior to perovskite solar cells can compete with silicon in commercial applications, the latest study shows a path forward.

" Theory tells us that perovskites have the ability to get rid of a lot of the inherent constraints of silicon as a material," Zeng claims.

" But it's not merely a matter of one displacing the other. There may be some applications far better suited to perovskites, and some where silicon is much better-- or we might incorporate them both. There are a great deal of amazing possibilities in advance."

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