International team uses vacuum processing to improve perovskite solar cell stability

Scientists from Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (South Korea), Hanwha Solution (South Korea), Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (South Korea), Imperial College London, Stony Brook University and U.S. Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a new material processing protocol to boost the operational stability of planar hybrid perovskite solar cells.

Vacuum and solvent process for removing ionic defects imageA schematic showing the vacuum and solvent process for removing the ionic defects that reduce the performance of hybrid perovskite solar cells.

Typically, thin-film devices are made in solution by sandwiching the active light-absorbing material in between top and bottom metal electrical contacts (electrodes) and organic semiconductor interlayers, which enhance the extraction of electrical currents to the contacts. In this case, before putting the final electrode on top, the scientists put the device in vacuum. In prior experiments, the team had noticed that removing and then redepositing the top electrode and interlayer reduced burn-in loss, a rapid decrease in efficiency at the beginning of light illumination. They subsequently confirmed that the high-vacuum environment used to deposit the electrode had contributed to this reduction. During vacuum curing, loose ions emerge from the perovskite and concentrate at the top interlayer. In a second processing step, the scientists used a chemical solvent to selectively wash away this top layer.

US-MAP consortium is set to boost perovskite solar commercialization

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has established a public-private consortium called the US-MAP for US Manufacturing of Advanced Perovskites Consortium, that aims to fast track the development of low-cost perovskite solar cells for the global marketplace.

The joint effort will aim at resolving a number of issues involving manufacturing and durability. US-MAP will also tackle sustainability issues, some of which relate to the use of lead and other metals.

New lead sequestration technique could make for safer lead-based perovskite solar cells

Researchers at Northern Illinois University and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado have reported on a potential breakthrough in the development of hybrid perovskite solar cells.

Led by Tao Xu of NIU and Kai Zhu of NREL, the scientists have developed a technique to sequester the lead used to make perovskite solar cells and minimize potential toxic leakage by applying lead-absorbing films to the front and back of the solar cell.

DOE grants $15 million to PV work that includes perovskite technology

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will allocate up to USD$125.5 million in financing for research and development (R&D) projects in the solar field. The research will target reducing the cost of solar technology, which in turn will enhance the competitiveness of the domestic photovoltaic (PV) production and improve the grid reliability.

Among other projects, the DOE funds will see USD$15 million go to 8-12 projects that aim to prolong the lifespan of PV systems and cut hardware costs for plants using traditional silicon solar cells, as well as thin-film, tandem and perovskite cells.

Researchers create a perovskite-based nickel oxide material that shows signs of superconductivity

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have created a nickel oxide material that shows signs of superconductivity.

Also known as a nickelate, it’s the first in a potential new family of unconventional superconductors that’s very similar to the copper oxides, or cuprates, whose discovery in 1986 raised hopes that superconductors could someday operate at close to room temperature and revolutionize electronic devices, power transmission and other technologies. Those similarities make scientists wonder if nickelates could also superconduct at relatively high temperatures.