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High-Performance Large Area Organic Perovskite devices for lighting, energy and Pervasive Communications

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PeroCUBE (High-Performance Large Area Organic Perovskite devices for lighting, energy and Pervasive Communications)

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2021-10-01 al 2023-03-31

PeroCUBE has the objective to advance technologies based on organometal halide perovskite semiconductors, a class of low-cost yet high-quality materials which have the potential to advance the field of organic large area electronics (OLAE) beyond the state-of-the-art. These perovskite materials can be deposited at low temperature on a variety of substrates, including flexible ones, while at the same time demonstrating high optoelectronic properties. This peculiar combination of properties opens new perspectives for lightweight electronic technologies, including for photovoltaic (PV) and light-emitting diode (LED) devices. While perovskite materials have been extensively studied and employed in small-scale demonstration solar cells, PeroCUBE will focus on the development of up-scalable manufacturing processes (notably roll-to-roll printing) and on future market entries of new perovskite-based products. More specifically, PeroCUBE aims to produce large-area perovskite-based lighting panels (PeLEDs), which should offer distributed lighting in line with the human-centric lighting concept. These PeLED devices should eventually surpass existing technologies such as organic LEDs (OLEDs) in terms of performance over cost ratio and will enable the European industry to maintain its industrial leadership in lighting technologies. Moreover, PeroCUBE aims to further advance scalable manufacturing processes for perovskite-based photovoltaics (PePVs), today’s most promising route to continue the learning curve of PV. Developments on both PeLEDs and PePVs will be combined in a new generation of Visual Light Communication (VLC)/light fidelity (LiFi) technologies. Overall, PeroCUBE aims to deliver high-performance, yet low-cost PV, LED, and communication technologies, all produced with a minimal environmental impact and exhibiting a clear cost and performance benefit over existing technologies.
The work done during the first reporting period of PeroCUBE has focused primarily on the development of new materials, processes, and device architectures to produce PePV and PeLED devices. These experimental efforts have been supported by advanced atomistic simulations based on density functional theory to understand and optimize the interfaces of the device stack. More specifically, 2D/3D heterostructures combining perovskite semiconductors with organic cations of different sizes have been investigated theoretically and then implemented experimentally. With this approach, small-scale red, green and blue PeLEDs reaching a performance close to the state-of-the-art were demonstrated. The rationale behind this choice of 2D/3D heterostructures is not only to improve performance, but also to extend stability, a critical point for PeLEDs. Indeed, while exhibiting an external quantum efficiency beyond the state-of-the-art, red PeLEDs made within PeroCUBE with a different approach - nanocrystals instead of an heterostructure - had a lifetime on the order of 1 h, a value on the lower limit to start investigating the new OLAE products envisioned within PeroCUBE. In addition to 2D/3D heterostructures, ionic liquids have also been employed to increase stability, notably in small-scale PePV devices. In parallel, new inks, some embedded in polymers for improved stability, and alternative solvent formulations have been investigated to facilitate upscaling efforts via gravure printing. Some of these research activities have been supported by information provided by a novel metrology tool combining atomic force microscopy and infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR). This characterization method enables to map the microstructural and optical properties of perovskite materials at high spatial resolution, hence providing valuable insights to guide the optimization of deposition processes and material formulations. A new generation of lasers is also under development to further improve the capabilities of such characterization system. Upscaling activities to produce PePV devices with an active area of 1 cm2 and then 100 cm2 have progressed quickly as some efficiency targets have been achieved ahead of schedule on rigid substrates. Efforts are now ongoing to transfer these results to flexible substrates. To guarantee long-term operational stability, barrier foils are being developed to encapsulate PePV and PeLED devices. First tests for LiFi using perovskite-devices have been performed and these activities will accelerate in the coming months. An existing risk-benefit assessment tool, LICARA nanoScan, that had been developed for assessing nanomaterials has now been modified to a web application (LICARA Innovation Scan) for the assessment of products that use hazardous substances in the product or in its production. It showed that the products being developed in PeroCUBE have low risk and moderate societal benefits. Further improvements during the project can increase their potential to be sustainable over their entire life cycle. Furthermore, an existing scanning tool for the for the emissions of hazardous substances in a product’s life cycle, FutureNanoNeeds Hotspot Scan, is being developed into an online tool in which much of the manual work to collect emission factors to the environment has been automated. To conclude, using the aforementioned tools, the potential human health and environmental impacts of the PeroCUBE technologies has been evaluated and results will be used as a guide to optimize materials and devices to improve sustainability
The first part of the PeroCUBE project generated important know-how on PePV and PeLED technologies regarding materials, fabrication processes, device physics, metrology aspects, and potential environmental and health impact. More specifically, the theoretical studies performed within the project shed new insights on interfaces between 3D and (quasi) 2D perovskite materials and their impact on optoelectronic properties. At the device level, red PeLEDs featuring perovskite nanocrystals exhibited an external quantum efficiency beyond the state-of-the-art (>20%), while 2D/3D materials perovskite devices are now starting to catch-up in terms of performance and should promise an enhanced stability. Metrology aspects were also brought beyond the state-of-the-art thanks to the development of an AFM-IR setup enabling new types of analyses on perovskite blends. In addition, different methods to assess the environmental and human health impact of new technologies, here perovskite-based ones, were developed and are freely accessible online for the broader community.

On the longer term, the new materials, the up-scalable fabrication processes, and the device architectures developed within PeroCUBE should help bringing perovskite technologies closer to a market entrance, likely first in the form PePV products, and then possibly as PeLEDs and for VLC/LiFi technologies by combining PePV and PeLEDs. While several challenges remain to be tackled before commercialization can be materialized, notably regarding long-term stability and up-scalability, the work performed within PeroCUBE has the potential to have an important impact beyond the laboratory by providing cheap electricity thanks to flexible PePV, human centric lighting to improve well-being thanks to PeLEDs panels, and novel VLC/LiFi communication means that are self-powered thanks to PePV.
Figure summarising the results of PeroCUBE covering the full value chain for PePV and PeLEDs