Friday, 20 Oct 2017

Large-area perovskite films go solvent- and vacuum-free

The technique is reported to also works in air and at low temperatures, making it more cost-friendly and environmentally friendly overall

Shanghai Univerist/Swiss Federal Institute A perovskite solar module with a size of 36 cm<sup>2</sup>

8 Sep 2017 | Editor

It has been reported by nanotechweb news website that Researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have developed a new technique to deposit high-quality large-area perovskite films that does not require solvents or vacuum processing.

The method produces homogenous films with relatively few defects, which leads to a record efficiency of 12.1% for a solar module made from a methylammonium lead halide film that is just over 36 cm2 in size.

Organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites, which have the chemical formula (CH3NH3)PbX3 (where Pb is lead and X can be iodine, bromine or chlorine), are one of the most promising thin-film solar-cell materials around today thanks to the fact that they can absorb light over a broad range of solar-spectrum wavelengths. The power-conversion efficiency (PCE) of solar cells made from these materials has gone from just 3% to more than 22% in the last eight years, which means that their PCE is now comparable to that of silicon-based solar cells.

For such cells to be widely employed and commercialised, however, we need large-area (1 m2), uniformly high-quality perovskite films from which to make the devices. This is because perovskite-based cells cannot be easily scaled up. Indeed, their PCE decreases from more than 20% to about 10% when they are increased in size from 0.1 cm2 to 25 cm2.

A team led by Liyuan Han in China and Michael Grätzel in Switzerland has now developed a new technique to produce large-area methylammonium lead halide (CH3NH3PbI3) perovskite films that relies on rapidly converting amine complex precursors (CH3NH3I·mCH3NH2 (where m is close to 3) and PbI2·nCH3NH2 (where n is close to 1) to perovskite films and then applying pressure to them.

The deposited films are free of pinholes and are highly uniform.

The pressure-processing step at the end is better than the spin-coating method that is widely employed for depositing perovskite films.

The film produced by the new technique is highly uniform over a large area (36.1 cm2) with only a 2% variation in film thickness and the grains in the material are around 0.8-1.0 microns in size, which is three to four times bigger than those in spin-coated processed film. The researchers succeeded in making a photovoltaic module with a PCE of 12.1% from such a film.

According to the researchers the technique will be useful for growing perovskite crystals, which could greatly reduce so-called trap states and further enhance the photovoltaic performance of these materials.

It could be used to produce low-cost optoelectronics devices, like light-emitting diodes or laser diodes on a large scale."

"Our technique has the advantage that it does not require any toxic or irritating solvents like N,N-dimethylformamide, dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) or gamma-butyrolactone, unlike conventional methods to produce these cells"

"It does not produce any waste either and no thermal annealing is required. The technique also works in air and at low temperatures, making it more cost-friendly and environmentally friendly overall.

Xudong Yang, Team member

A solvent- and vacuum-free route to large-area perovskite films for efficient solar modules

Han Chen | Fei Ye | Wentao Tang | Jinjin He | Maoshu Yin | Yanbo Wang | Fengxian Xie | Enbing Bi | Xudong Yang | Michael Grätzel | Liyuan Han

Nature (2017) | doi:10.1038/nature23877

Received 07 March 2017 | Accepted 02 August 2017 | Published online 06 September 2017


Recent advances in the use of organic–inorganic hybrid perovskites for optoelectronics have been rapid, with reported power conversion efficiencies of up to 22 per cent for perovskite solar cells. Improvements in stability have also enabled testing over a timescale of thousands of hours. However, large-scale deployment of such cells will also require the ability to produce large-area, uniformly high-quality perovskite films. A key challenge is to overcome the substantial reduction in power conversion efficiency when a small device is scaled up: a reduction from over 20 per cent to about 10 per cent is found when a common aperture area of about 0.1 square centimetres is increased to more than 25 square centimetres. Here we report a new deposition route for methyl ammonium lead halide perovskite films that does not rely on use of a common solvent or vacuum3: rather, it relies on the rapid conversion of amine complex precursors to perovskite films, followed by a pressure application step. The deposited perovskite films were free of pin-holes and highly uniform. Importantly, the new deposition approach can be performed in air at low temperatures, facilitating fabrication of large-area perovskite devices. We reached a certified power conversion efficiency of 12.1 per cent with an aperture area of 36.1 square centimetres for a mesoporous TiO2-based perovskite solar module architecture.

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