Stable and Low-Cost Perovskite-Based Solar Cells

Stable and Low-Cost Perovskite-Based Solar Cells

Author: Sarah Millar

A recent breakthrough in developing high-efficiency solar cells was made by replacing the light-harvesting dye with organometal halide perovskites. A triiodide perovskite (CH3NH3PbI3)-based solar cell with an expensive organic spiro-MeOTAD (a spirobifluorene) as the hole-transporting material was demonstrated to be very promising, with efficiencies of more than 15.0 % [1,2]. However, CH3NH3PbI3 decomposes on exposure to moisture in the air. To develop air-stable perovskite materials, mixed halide perovskites CH3NH3PbI3−yXy (X = Cl and Br) are being studied.

Lianzhou Wang, University of Queensland, Australia, and co-workers have successfully fabricated stable and low-cost all-solid-state mesoscopic perovskite solar cells using stable CH3NH3PbI2Br as a light absorber and poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) as a hole-transporting layer. The optimized device achieved a power conversion efficiency of 6.64 %. The incorporation of bromine led to an impressively longer charge carrier lifetime compared to triiodine perovskite. The solar cells also retained their photovoltaic performance well when they were exposed to air without any encapsulation.

Use of a low-cost thin P3HT layer as a hole-transporting material rather than spiro-MeOTAD will remarkably reduce the fabrication cost of the whole device. Thus, the combination of CH3NH3PbI2Br and P3HT may render a practical, stable, and cost-effective solid-state photovoltaic system.

[1] H. S. Kim, C. R. Lee, J. H. Im, K. B. Lee, T. Moehl, A. Marchioro, S. J. Moon, R. Humphry-Baker, J. H. Yum, J. E. Moser, M. Gratzel, N. G. Park, Sci. Rep. 2012, 2, 591. DOI: 10.1038/srep00591

[2] J. Burschka, N. Pellet, S. J. Moon, R. Humphry-Baker, P. Gao, M. K. Nazeeruddin, M. Gratzel, Nature 2013, 499, 316–319. DOI: 10.1038/nature12340

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