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Perovskite crystals light path for low-cost solar cells

Posted: 02 Feb 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Los Alamos National Laboratory  solar cell  perovskite  photovoltaic 

A team of researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers has demonstrated a solution-based hot-casting method that permits growth of highly efficient and reproducible solar cells from large-area perovskite crystals. The scientists created planar solar cells from perovskite materials with large crystalline grains that had efficiencies approaching 18 per cent, among the highest reported in the field of perovskite-based light-to-energy conversion devices.

"These perovskite crystals offer promising routes for developing low-cost, solar-based, clean global energy solutions for the future," said Aditya Mohite, the Los Alamos scientist leading the project.

Modern photovoltaics using high-purity, large-area, wafer-scale single-crystalline semiconductors grown by sophisticated, high temperature crystal-growth processes are seen as the future of efficient solar technology. Solar cells composed of organic-inorganic perovskites offer efficiencies approaching that of silicon, but they have been plagued with some important deficiencies limiting their commercial viability. It is this failure that the Los Alamos technique successfully corrects.

Aditya Mohite and Wanyi Nie

Scientists Aditya Mohite, left, and Wanyi Nie are perfecting a crystal production technique to improve perovskite crystal production for solar cells at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The perovskite-based cells showed little cell-to-cell variability, resulting in devices showing hysteresis-free photovoltaic response, which had been a fundamental bottleneck for stable operation of perovskite devices.

"Characterisation and modelling attribute the improved performance to reduced bulk defects and improved charge-carrier mobility in large-grain perovskite materials," said Mohite, "and we've demonstrated that the crystalline quality is on par with that observed for high-quality semiconductors like silicon and gallium arsenides."

The researchers anticipate that their crystal growth technique will lead the field towards synthesis of wafer-scale crystalline perovskites necessary for the fabrication of high-efficiency solar-cells and be applicable to several other material systems plagued by polydispersity, defects and grain boundary recombination in solution-processed thin-films.

The work at Los Alamos National Laboratory was supported by a DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences proposal and by the Los Alamos National Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program. This work was done in part at the Centre for Integrated Nanotechnologies, a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

Researchers include Wanyi Nie, Hsinhan Tsai, Jean-Christophe Blancon, Amanda J. Neukirch, Gautam Gupta, Jared J. Crochet, Sergei Tretiak, Hsing-Lin Wang and Aditya D. Mohite of Los Alamos, in addition to Reza Asadpour (Purdue University), Manish Chhowalla (Rutgers University) and Muhammad A. Alam (Purdue University).

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