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Perovskite solar cells: Going for stability    Mar 14, 2017

Perovskite solar cells: Going for stability
Mar 14, 2017

IMO-IMOMEC researchers develop new perovskite compounds in order to make Perovskite solar cells with a high efficiency and more stable at higher temperatures.

Imec is focussing its effort on developing industrially suitable processes to produce perovskite solar cells. In collaboration with a number of industry partners, the goal is to help bring first perovskite-based solar cells on the market in two years time. Imo-imomec has a team of experienced researchers in the field of perovskite compounds and the characterisation of these compounds.

Promising properties

Perovskite microcrystals are a promising material to make high-yielding thin-film solar cells. They can be processed into thin, light, semitransparent modules that could eventually be integrated in building materials such as windows or curved construction elements. But they may also be used to boost standard silicon solar technology. Up to now, perovskite PV was a lab technology, but in collaboration with their colleagues from Solliance, researchers of imec are working to upscale processing to fabricate modules and eventually to arrive at an industrial process.

Apart from their efficiency, perovskite solar cells have many other desirable properties. They are potentially cheap to produce: they can be made with simple fabrication techniques such as coating and printing with ink-like materials on flexible or glass substrates. And they have a high absorption efficiency for sunlight, so not much of the material is needed, a layer of at most a few hundred nanometers. Moreover, the material can be carefully engineered to result in various optical and electronic properties, which allows e.g. adjusting the color and transparency of the cell.

imec and imo-imomec join to accomplish this goal

As is the case with all solar cells, perovskite cells are made up of a carefully engineered stack of functional layers, with a central photoactive layer made from microcrystals of perovskites, a family of materials that form microcrystals with the structure ABX3. Solar cells typically use an organometal-halide perovskite. In these, material A is an organic cation, material B is a metal ion such as lead and X is a halide anion such as iodide, bromide or chloride. With these three elements, many variations may be engineered, each with their specific characteristics. There is, however, no direct pointer to the best suited material; part of the R&D consists of painstakingly screening compounds and their behavior. Imo-imomec contributes in this part of the research track.

read more on this topic on the imec-website: