Researchers from HZB, Oxford University, Technical University Berlin and Oxford PV have shown that the infrared reflection losses in tandem cells processed on a flat silicon substrate (such as perovskite/silicon tandem cells) can be significantly reduced by using an optical interlayer, consisting of nanocrystalline silicon oxide. Based on this, the team managed to achieve impressive efficiency and reported that the best tandem device in this work reached a certified conversion efficiency of 25.2%.

Researchers at HZB and Oxford reduce reflection losses and reach 25.2% conversion efficiency in perovskte/silicon tandem solar cells imagea) Cross-section of the simulated monolithic perovskite/SHJ tandem cell (layer thicknesses and morphological features not to scale). b) Cross-sectional SEM image of the top region of the tandem device.

Perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells are attractive for their potential for boosting cell efficiency beyond the crystalline silicon (Si) single-junction limit. However, the relatively large optical refractive index of Si, in comparison to that of transparent conducting oxides and perovskite absorber layers, often results in significant reflection losses at the internal junction between the cells in monolithic (two-terminal) devices. Therefore, light management is crucial for improving photocurrent absorption in the Si bottom cell.

In this work, the team used an optical interlayer consisting of nanocrystalline silicon oxide and managed to demonstrate that 110 nm thick interlayers with a refractive index of 2.6 (at 800 nm) result in 1.4 mA cm−2 current gain in the silicon bottom cell. Under AM1.5G irradiation, the champion 1 cm2 perovskite/silicon monolithic tandem cell exhibits a top cell + bottom cell total current density of 38.7 mA cm−2 and a certified stabilized power conversion efficiency of 25.2%.

This work highlights where future improvements to the perovskite top cell should be made, and identifies a clear near term road map towards efficiencies exceeding 28%.