Researchers from Tor Vergata University and University of Zanjan have developed a new method that uses a simple sheet of paper to deposit the perovskite films without any expensive equipment. The way to achieve high performance with this low-cost method is to soak the paper applicator in anti-solvent which almost doubles efficiencies compared to when using it dry, reaching 11% on flexible plastic substrates. Paper, compared to other soft applicators, possesses the right porosity and smoothness for deposition of high quality perovskite films.
Most perovskite films in laboratories around the world are deposited through spin coating which guarantees high control of film thickness as well as morphology. However, most of the ink is expelled during deposition and is wasted. There have been efforts to develop coating techniques for deposition over large areas. The most efficient solar cells fabricated via spin coating involve adding drops of anti-solvent (i.e., a liquid with differing properties to those used in the perovskite precursor inks) during spinning which improves the morphological quality of the perovskite semiconductor films. This method is very difficult to implement when employing large area coating techniques, however, where the careful engineering of the drying processes involve heaters or gas flows to control the morphology of the perovskite film.