Towards Self-scrubbing Stable and Scalable Perovskite Solar Cells

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Chemistry

Abstract

Perovskite solar cells (PSCs) show unprecedented levels of efficiency for such easy to process solar cells, and are higher than those of most common, but more expensive, silicon cells. They have an excellent potential to provide low-cost solar electricity. Spectacular impact is expected but is hindered by poor stability of the perovskite phase and concerns about the use of lead and especially its potential release into the environment. Lead is also a relatively highly regulated element. In this proposal, our team of leading chemists, materials scientists, device physicists and theorists, will address these issues through an integrated collaborative study. Building on our previous work we will improve the understanding of the key mechanisms responsible for PSC degradation, by exploring new perovskites, morphologies and stabilisation by the use of additives. The link between defects (structural imperfections) and PSC performance/stability will be investigated experimentally and using state-of-the-art modelling techniques. The approach will provide a sound basis for predictive guidelines for perovskite formulation to enable stable environmentally benign, inexpensive PV units for mass use. Among the most intriguing aspects of perovskite materials are the high efficiency of charge pair photo-generation and the long lifetime of these charges. We will use new ultrafast timescale spectroscopic techniques to obtain new insights concerning the dynamics of the perovskite photo-excited states. We will address issues of potential heavy metal contamination, in the event of PSC failure (and water ingress) by studying new lead-free perovskites as well as by developing new heavy metal self-scrubbing scaffolds within lead- and tin-containing PSCs. A new aerosol-assisted film deposition approach for fabrication of large area, high performance, stable and environmental safe PSCs will result. Our ambition is to provide prototype environmentally safe, demonstration, large area PSCs with enhanced operational stability that could be mass produced and have power conversion efficiencies exceeding 20%. A successful outcome to this project would provide improved fundamental understanding of the interplay between perovskite composition and device performance and new PSCs that would bring about the large-scale deployment of perovskite photovoltaics for CO2-free electricity generation closer.

Publications

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Ghosh D (2019) Putting the Squeeze on Lead Iodide Perovskites: Pressure-Induced Effects To Tune Their Structural and Optoelectronic Behavior. in Chemistry of materials : a publication of the American Chemical Society

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Jayanthi K (2022) Entropy Stabilization Effects and Ion Migration in 3D "Hollow" Halide Perovskites in Journal of the American Chemical Society

 
Description Solar cells and optoelectronics based on lead halide perovskites are generating considerable interest but face challenges with the use of toxic lead. In this study, we fabricate and characterize lead-free perovskites based on germanium and tin solid solutions, CH3NH3Sn(1-x)GexI3 (0 = x = 1). We show that these perovskite compounds possess band gaps from 1.3 to 2.0 eV, which are suitable for a range of optoelectronic applications, from single junction devices and top cells for tandems to light-emitting layers. Their thermodynamic stability and electronic properties are calculated for all compositions and agree well with our experimental measurements. Our findings demonstrate an attractive family of lead-free perovskite semiconductors with a favorable band-gap range for efficient single-junction solar cells.
Exploitation Route First, published in leading journals. Second, taken forward to industry partners.
Sectors Chemicals,Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment

 
Description Lectures at outreach, schools and public engagement events.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Education,Electronics,Energy
Impact Types Societal

 
Description Invited talk - Saiful Islam - Advances and Challenges in Perovskite Solar Cells (online), July 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Research conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Invited talk - Saiful Islam - Transnational Perovskite Research Council, MIT, Boston, 30 June, 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Research conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Prof Saiful Islam spoke at the IMSE annual conference at Imperial College 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof Saiful Islam spoke at the IMSE annual conference at Imperial College
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.imperial.ac.uk/events/123286/making-a-material-difference-to-green-energy-professor-saif...
 
Description Prof. Saiful Islam - online awards talk, ACS Energy Chemistry Award Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Saiful Islam spoke at the Henry H. Storch Award in Energy Chemistry: Symposium in honour of Professor Saiful Islam organised by the American Chemical Society.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://plan.core-apps.com/acs_sf20/event/4a0b604ad5fd8c76d6f11060ad8fc34f
 
Description Prof. Saiful Islam gave a talk for Society of Chemical Industry. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof. Saiful Islam gave a talk for Society of Chemical Industry. Talk Title: 'Making a Materials Difference to Green Energy (Batteries Included)'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Royal Institution Friday Discourse 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Research lecture to broad audience.
Now on Youtube with >24,000 views
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjJMYDL9wKE&t=566s
 
Description Saiful Islam on the Life Scientific 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Saiful Islam on the Life Scientific, BBC radio 4, Professor Saiful Islam talks to Jim Al-Khalili about his life and work studying the materials that make renewable energy possible.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0009rhg