Researchers improve efficiency of low-cost solar cells

Sep 28, 2022 02:42 PM ET
  • With worldwide energy-related co2 discharges getting to an all-time high in 2021, the demand for clean power is more important than ever. One such alternative to nonrenewable fuel sources is solar power.
Researchers improve efficiency of low-cost solar cells
Image: Jiajia Zheng et al

Solar cells have been established with a range of materials, but selenium (Se) is a desirable alternative because it is low-cost, steady and nontoxic, according to Chao Chen of the Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics (WNLO) and School of Optical Electronic Information at Huazhong University of Science as well as Technology, China.

Nevertheless, its effectiveness is restricted by its low melting point as well as large bandgap-- the range where no digital states can exist. Currently, Chen and other researchers have actually overcome these constraints by alloying selenium with tellurium (Te), making selenium solar cells a much more attractive option.

The scientists released their cause Frontiers of Optoelectronics.

The optimal bandgap range for single-junction solar cells is 1-1.5 eV, according to the scientists, but Se's bandgap is about 1.8 eV, making it more comprehensive than perfect for usage in solar cells. The researchers had the ability to tune the solar cells to the Shockley-Queisser limitation, which is the optimum academic efficiency of a single-junction solar cell, by combining selenium with tellurium.

" Alloying [selenium] with tellurium, which has the exact same crystal structure as well as [has a] slim bandgap, can tune the bandgap and also increase the melting point, thus increasing the absorption spectrum as well as enhancing the top quality of [the selenium solar cell] films," stated Chen, associate teacher at the School of Optical Electronic Information at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, that is the corresponding author. "As a result Se1-xTex alloy is expected to achieve the enhancement of solar cell effectiveness."

The researchers additionally used zinc oxide (ZnO) as an electron transport layer in the construction of the solar cells due to the appropriate band placement and light reaction at the interface of the zinc oxide as well as the selenium/tellurium.

" Zinc oxide was selected as the electron transport layer, which can slightly respond with Se to improve its interfacial adhesion and also to decrease dangling bonds and also thus reduce interfacial problems," Chen claimed.

Chen stated that this use of zinc oxide was just one of the novel parts of this research, together with the evaluation the researchers conducted on certain facets of the selenium tellurium solar cells.

" The recombination device and also defect type of Se1-xTex alloy solar cell were evaluated by characterizations of light intensity dependent current-voltage, capacitance-voltage and temperature dependent admittance, which will help to further optimize the Se1-xTex alloy system," Chen said.

After making the brand-new selenium tellurium solar cells with zinc oxide electron transport layers, the researchers found that the new material retains the formerly recognized favorable attributes of having a big absorption coefficient and being very photoconductive while boosting effectiveness.

" The efficiency of ZnO/Se0.7 Te0.3 solar cells has more than doubled after nine months airborne," Chen said. "ZnO/Se0.7 Te0.3 [is verified as] a superior joint with power band matching and tight attachment, and also the performance of 1.85% has been achieved preliminarily."

The scientists are now looking to improve their construction of the solar cells and after that to scale the technology.

" The next step will certainly be to prepare top quality Se1-xTex alloy films-- remove holes as well as vacancy issues and more-- as well as optimize device structure-- adding the hole transport layer and so forth-- so regarding further improve the efficiency of Se1-xTex alloy solar cells and attain mass production."

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