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Perovskite solar cells move closer to commercialisation

With exceptional power conversion efficiencies exceeding 20 %, relative ease of fabrication and low cost, perovskite solar cells are arguably the rising star in the field of photovoltaics. Thanks to EU-funded research, they can become more commercially viable.
Perovskite solar cells move closer to commercialisation
A mix of organic molecules and inorganic elements, perovskite is used in solar cells to capture sunlight in a similar way to common silicon-based solar cells by converting solar rays into electricity.

With solar efficiencies soaring to about 20 %, perovskite solar cells have galvanised many scientists worldwide to focus on understanding the physics of this material system. Belgian researchers recently achieved record active area efficiency on thin-film perovskite solar cells measured over an aperture area of 16 cm2.

High efficiencies and stability are paramount for commercialisation of this competitive solar cell technology. Thus, future efforts should focus on more fundamental aspects of the technology. Yet, important aspects regarding the precise make-up of this hybrid material and its morphology at the micro- and nanoscales remain largely unaddressed.

Within the EU-funded project PHOTON (Perovskite-based hybrid optoelectronics: Towards original nanotechnology), researchers synthesised novel perovskite materials and developed new analytical techniques to gain further insight into the material properties. In addition, they developed a four-probe measurement system that makes it possible to precisely measure electron conductivity.

New insight into thin-film formation will facilitate proper development of high-performance perovskite solar cells beyond the state of the art. Advanced thin-film deposition techniques such as pulsed-laser deposition allow the formation of atomically smooth films and control over the material stoichiometry and composition. Sophisticated instrumentation to monitor thin-film growth in situ allows researchers to carefully probe the processes occurring in thin-film formation.

Another challenge lies in scale-up and optimisation of the deposition processes for reproducible perovskite solar cells. Laser direct writing is a remarkably simple method to fabricate highly ordered and functional micro/nano-structured systems from a wide range of materials. This highly versatile method enables complex materials to be deposited as liquids, pastes or solids with lateral directionality.

Researchers used a versatile technique called laser-induced forward transfer that enables high-resolution printing from a variety of functional materials. The technique is often applied to silicon solar cells for the metallisation of silver electrodes. The team detailed all challenges of conformal coating of micro-scale electrodes of silver nanopastes over rough structures and provided new insight into the morphological and electronic properties of the deposited silver electrodes.

PHOTON research can lead to new perovskite solar cell designs that could outperform conventional silicon-based technologies and boost commercialisation efforts.

Related information


Perovskite, solar cells, PHOTON, thin-film formation, laser direct writing
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