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Solar Energy Enabled for the World by High-resolution Imaging

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - SEEWHI (Solar Energy Enabled for the World by High-resolution Imaging)

Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2020-10-31

Earth-abundant and cheap 3.generation solar cell materials (e.g. kesterite structured copper-zinc-tin-sulfide and organic photovoltaics), require substantially lower energy input in the manufacturing process, compared to the conventional silicon solar cells. Thus upscaling the production of these materials for solar cell production in order to replace current polluting energy technologies is crucial for negating anthropogenic CO2-emission and resulting global climate change. Unfortunately, there is still room for improvement, when comparing the current efficiency to theory. In order to pave the way for the upscaling of these 3.generation solar cells it is important to study the materials, identify the obstacles and develop methods for large scale production. In SEEWHI we will make full 3D quantifiable images of whole solar cell devices and ultrafast imaging of charge currents that may be correlated directly with 3D models of charge generation and transport. We will use this combination of experiment and theory to predict and verify the optimal structure and use with in-line X-ray scattering techniques to monitor and control the structure during high-speed R2R coating.
SEEWHI has produced reliable experimental simulations and dynamic models that helps us setting up high profile X-ray experiments of solar cells at large scale facilities. These experiments provided us with new insight into the internal structure and composition of functional solar cells, and have facilitated the development of new methods and processes. In addition, ultra-fast time resolved studies have revealed new intricate phenomenons that occurs inside the solar cells that help researchers understand how energy is generated and extracted.
All these effort will hopefully result in improved models of how these solar cells work, and increase the efficiency and scalability to a degree where the new design and processes of the solar cells can be utilized on an industrial scale.
The methods developed in 3D imaging will also be applicable to other nano-structured materials systems where unprecedented high resolutions of functional materials may have a profound impact.
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