Solar Cell Comprising an Oxide-Nanoparticle Buffer Layer and Method of Fabrication
A buffer layer for protecting an organic layer during high-energy deposition of an electrically conductive layer is disclosed. Buffer layers in accordance with the present invention are particularly well suited for use in perovskite-based single-junction solar cells and double-junction solar cell structures that include at least one perovskite-based absorbing layer. In some embodiments, the buffer layer comprises a layer of oxide-based nanoparticles that is formed using solution-state processing, in which a solution comprising the nanoparticles and a volatile solvent is spin coated onto a structure that includes the organic layer. The solvent is subsequently removed in a low-temperature process that does not degrade the organic layer.
- 1-14. -14. (canceled)
- 15. A method for forming an optoelectronic device, the method comprising:
providing a first organic layer; forming a first buffer layer comprising a first plurality of oxide nanoparticles, wherein the first buffer layer is configured to protect the first organic layer during a sputter-deposition process; and forming a first transparent conductive electrode such that it is disposed on the first buffer layer, wherein the first transparent conductive electrode includes a first layer that is formed via sputter deposition.
- View Dependent Claims (16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24)
- 25. A method for forming an optoelectronic device, the method comprising:
providing a first organic layer disposed on a substrate, wherein the first organic layer comprises a first perovskite; forming a first buffer layer configured to protect the first organic layer during a sputter-deposition process, the first buffer layer comprising a first plurality of nanoparticles that includes at least one nanoparticle that comprises a wide-bandgap oxide; and sputter depositing a first layer such that it is disposed on the first organic layer, wherein the first layer comprises a first material that is a transparent conductor, and wherein the first layer defines at least a portion of a first transparent conductive electrode.
- View Dependent Claims (26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33)
This case is a divisional application of co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/769,287 filed on Apr. 18, 2018 (Attorney Docket: 146-062US1), which claims priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/245,260 filed on Oct. 22, 2015 (Attorney Docket: 146-062PR1) and U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/398,220 filed on Sep. 22, 2016 (Attorney Docket: 146-065PR2), each of which is incorporated herein by reference.
This invention was made with Government support under contract DE-EE0004946 awarded by the Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.
The present invention pertains generally to optoelectronics and, more particularly, to the formation of transparent electrodes for solar cells.
A solar cell is an optoelectronic semiconductor device that converts the energy of light incident upon it directly into electricity. The incident light is absorbed in an absorption layer of the solar-cell, which gives rise to the generation of free electrical carriers (i.e., electrons and holes). The free electrical carriers produce a voltage across the terminals of the device, which can be used to directly power electrical systems or be stored in an electrical storage system (e.g., a battery, etc.) for later use.
In order to generate a free-carrier pair in the absorption material, a photon must have energy greater than energy bandgap (EG) of the material. The EG of a material is the energy difference between the top of its valence band (the highest energy level populated by bound electrons) and the bottom of its conduction band (the lowest energy level populated by free electrons). When a photon is absorbed, its energy is given over to a bound electron-hole pair, which frees the electron and enables it to go from the valence band into the conduction band. The energy of a photon is inversely proportional to its wavelength (Ep=hc/λ, where Ep is photon energy, h is Planck'"'"'s constant, c is the speed of light, and λ is wavelength); therefore, longer-wavelength light (e.g., red light) has lower photon energy than shorter-wavelength light (e.g., blue light). As a result, the choice of semiconductor used to absorb the light has significant impact on the efficiency of a solar cell.
Silicon is perhaps the most commonly used absorbing material in solar-cells at present, due to its relatively low EG, highly developed fabrication infrastructure, and low cost as compared to other semiconductor materials. Unfortunately, silicon does not efficiently absorb light. In addition, since the free electrons and free holes tend to occupy energy levels at the bottom of the conduction band and the top of the valence band, respectively, any extra energy that the electron-hole pairs receive from higher-energy photons is converted into heat that is transferred into the semiconductor material in a process referred to as “thermalization.” Thermalization reduces the energy-conversion efficiency of the solar cell and also raises the temperature of the device, which can lead to degradation and lifetime issues.
In the quest for improved device performance, the solar-cell community has been aggressively searching for material alternatives to silicon, and perovskites are now seen as being among the most attractive silicon substitutes. In fact, in recent years, perovskite-based solar cell efficiencies have become extremely competitive with silicon-based devices. Their rapid rise is the result of a unique combination of properties, including strong optical absorption and long ambipolar diffusion lengths enabled by the benign nature of their intrinsic defects. In addition, perovskites are well suited for use in the top cell of a tandem solar-cell configuration, which enables improved energy-conversion efficiency and thermalization loss than can be achieved in more conventional single-cell devices.
A tandem solar cell is a stacked structure comprising a top photovoltaic portion that is made of a material having a relatively higher EG and a bottom photovoltaic portion that is made of a material having a relatively lower EG. In other words, a tandem solar cell has two p-n junctions and two different band gaps. When light is incident on the stacked structure, high-energy photons are first absorbed in the top portion, while lower-energy photons pass through the top portion to be absorbed in a bottom photovoltaic portion. This enables a broader spectrum of light to be absorbed, thereby improving energy-conversion efficiency beyond the single-junction efficiency limit. In addition, thermalization in the bottom cell is reduced because of the absorption of high-energy photons in the top cell. Depending on the EG of the material of the top solar cell, the fundamental efficiency limit for silicon-based tandem solar cells can be as high as approximately 39%—significantly higher than the theoretical efficiency limit of 33.7% for a single-junction silicon solar cell.
Perovskites are particularly attractive for use in the top cell in tandem solar cell configurations having bottom cells comprising a wide variety of lower-EG materials (e.g., silicon, copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), etc.) because perovskites have wide, tunable bandgaps and solution processability. As a result, perovskites offer a pathway to achieving industry goals of improving efficiency while continuing to drive down module cost.
Perovskite-based tandem solar cells have been demonstrated in both mechanically stacked, four-terminal configurations and monolithically integrated three-terminal configurations. Mechanically stacked tandem structures have seen the largest success, recently reaching a power conversion efficiency over 24%. The mechanically stacked architecture has some advantages over monolithically integrated structures—most notably, it simplifies device fabrication, allows for silicon surface texturing, and requires no current matching. Monolithically integrated tandem structures, however, have greater promise due to the fact that they have fewer transparent electrode layers.
To date, however, the commercial viability of both single-junction and tandem perovskite-based solar cells has been limited due to thermal and environmental instability issues. Perovskites are susceptible to moisture and methylammonium egress. In addition, halides in the perovskite material can react with metal electrodes, leading to electrode corrosion. Efforts have been made in the prior art to stabilize the perovskite, such as using a hydrophobic heterojunction contact or providing an encapsulation layer that mitigates moisture ingress or a pinhole-free metal oxide layer to prevent metal-halide interaction. Little progress has been made for preventing methylammonium egress, however.
In addition, the top electrode of a solar cell must be highly transparent, as well as highly conductive. Due to fabrication constraints, however, light must first pass through a hole-transport layer (e.g., Spiro-OMeTAD) in a standard architecture, or an electron-acceptor layer (e.g., [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM), [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM), bathocuproine (BCP), etc.) in an inverted architecture, before entering the perovskite, which gives rise to significant parasitic losses.
The de facto industry standard for transparent contacts is a sputtered indium tin oxide (ITO), which is typically deposited as thin film via RF-magnetron sputtering. Unfortunately, the temperatures during deposition and post-annealing may accelerate methylamine evolution, resulting in irreversible damage of the perovskite active layer. In addition, the high energy of the sputtered electrode-material particles can easily damage the perovskite and carrier-extraction layers (i.e., Spiro-OMeTAD, PCBM, bathocuproine (BCP), etc.) during the sputtering process, leading to degradation of device performance.
The addition of a buffer layer on top of the perovskite/carrier-extraction layer stack prior to contact formation is viewed as a potential approach for mitigating the problems associated with ITO deposition. Unfortunately, prior-art buffer layers have poor long-term stability due to their chemical reactivity with perovskite compositions. In addition, prior-art buffer layers have been plagued by low efficiency, which degrades fill factor and open-circuit voltage. Further, many prior-art buffer layers require additional vacuum processes, such as evaporation, which undesirably complicates solar-cell fabrication. Still further, some prior-art buffer layers are not compatible with many desirable device architectures. Molybdenum oxide (MoOx), for example, cannot be used in an inverted solar-cell architecture.
The ability to readily form high-quality, highly transparent contact windows on perovskite-based solar-cell structures remains, as yet, undemonstrated in the prior art.
The present invention enables the formation of a transparent conducting electrode (TCO), such as an indium tin oxide (ITO) contact, in optoelectronic devices/circuits in which it would otherwise be problematic or impossible. In accordance with the present teachings, this is accomplished via a buffer layer comprising solution-processed oxide nanoparticles. Embodiments of the present invention are particularly well suited for use in single-junction and dual-junction solar cell architectures.
An illustrative embodiment of the present invention is an inverted-structure, single-junction, perovskite-based solar cell comprising a transparent conducting electrode of sputter-deposited ITO, which is disposed on a buffer layer comprising a plurality of wide-bandgap oxide-based nanoparticles. In the illustrative embodiment, the nanoparticles are zinc oxide nanoparticles; however, in some embodiments, the nanoparticles comprise a different oxide, including metal oxides and semiconductor oxides. In some embodiments, the oxide nanoparticles are doped with another material, such as aluminum, hydrogen, indium, gallium, etc., to improve their conductivity.
The inclusion of the nanoparticle buffer layer enables the ITO layer to be deposited and annealed without resulting in damage to the perovskite layer. In some embodiments, such as tandem solar cells, the ability to anneal the ITO material is particularly important because it improves its crystallinity, which increases its electrical conductivity and optical transparency.
The nanoparticle buffer layer is formed, using solution-based processes that are performed at low temperatures (e.g., <200° C., and preferably within the range of approximately 60° C. to 75° C.), on a layer structure that includes a perovskite-based absorption layer located between an n-type heterojunction layer that acts as an electron-selective (i.e., hole blocking) layer and a p-type heterojunction layer that acts as a hole-selective layer. The ability to form the buffer layer via low-temperature, solution-based processing simplifies the overall fabrication process and mitigates degradation of underlying layers. This is particularly important in embodiments in which the buffer layer is formed on underlying organic materials, such as in the illustrative embodiment.
In some embodiments, the perovskite absorption layer is included as the top cell of a tandem solar cell. In some embodiments, the tandem solar cell includes a bottom cell comprising silicon. In some embodiments, the tandem solar cell includes a material other than silicon, such as CIGS, a lower EG perovskite, and the like. In some embodiments, a buffer layer in accordance with the present invention is incorporated in another device structure, such as an organic light-emitting diode (OLED), organic thin-film transistor (OTFT), an electrochromic, and the like.
An embodiment of the present invention is an optoelectronic device comprising: a first layer comprising an organic material; a second layer comprising a plurality of oxide nanoparticles, the oxide nanoparticles of the plurality thereof being characterized by a wide bandgap; and a first transparent conductive electrode; wherein the second layer is between the first layer and the first transparent conductive electrode.
Another embodiment of the present invention is an optoelectronic device comprising: a first layer comprising a first material, the first material comprising a first perovskite and having a first energy bandgap (EG); a first electrical contact that is in electrical communication with the first layer, the electrical contact being substantially transparent for a first light signal characterized by a first wavelength range; and a buffer layer that is between the electrical contact and the first layer, the buffer layer comprising plurality of oxide nanoparticles.
Yet another embodiment of the present invention is a method for forming an optoelectronic device, the method comprising: providing a first organic layer; forming a first buffer layer comprising a first plurality of oxide nanoparticles; and forming a first transparent conductive electrode such that it is disposed on the first buffer layer.
Bottom contact 104 is a layer of ITO having a thickness suitable for providing low electrical sheet resistance. A typical value for the thickness of bottom contact 104 is approximately 170 nanometers (nm); however, one skilled in the art will recognize that any practical thickness can be used.
At operation 202, hole-selective layer 106 is formed on bottom contact 104 to define a hole-selective contact for solar cell 100. Hole-selective layer 106 is a substantially smooth, hydrophilic layer of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS), which is formed by spin coating aqueous PEDOT:PSS onto bottom contact 104 and curing it. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, a variety of other materials can be used to form this layer, including, without limitation, small molecules such as spiro-OMeTAD, other polymers, such as poly triarylamine (PTAA), and inorganic materials, such as NiO.
At operation 203, absorption layer 108 is formed on hole-selective layer 104. In the depicted example, absorption layer 108 comprises a CH3NH3PbI3 perovskite that is formed by dissolving lead(ii) acetate (PbAc) and methylammonium iodide (MAI) (1:3 molar ratio) in n,n-dimethylformamide (DMF) and spinning the resultant solution onto a substrate. The layer is initially dried at room temperature and then annealed at 100° C. for 5 minutes. One skilled in the art will recognize, after reading this Specification, that myriad perovskite layers can be used in absorption layer 108 without departing from the scope of the present invention. Other perovskites suitable for use in the present invention include, without limitation, CsxFA1-xPb(BryI1-y)3, pure formamidinium based perovskite (FAPbI3), tin containing perovskites CsxFA1-xPbzSn1-z(BryI1-y)3 etc. Further, one skilled in the art will recognize that many alternative methods can be used to form a layer of perovskite without departing from the scope of present invention.
Absorption layer 108 and hole-selective layer 104 collectively define a p-type heterojunction within solar cell 100.
At operation 204, electron-acceptor layer 110 is formed by spin-coating liquid-phase organic material onto the perovskite of absorption layer 108 and curing it via a low-temperature anneal. In the depicted example, electron-acceptor layer 110 is a layer of PCBM having a thickness of approximately 20 nm. It is preferable that the layer of PCBM be thin to ensure good electron-extraction properties, while still achieving high optical transmission. Electron-acceptor layer 110 and absorption layer 108 collectively define an n-type heterojunction in solar cell 100. In some embodiments, a layer of lithium fluoride (LiF) is included as a passivation layer between electron-acceptor layer 110 and absorption layer 108. Electron-acceptor layer 110 is formed. In some embodiments, PCBM also prevents the development of an extraction barrier. In some other embodiments, the organic material can be an electrically-active material, such as PCBM, spiro-OMeTAD or a polymer organic, such as PTAA.
In some embodiments, electron-acceptor layer 110 includes a thin layer of bathocuproine (BCP), which is evaporated on the PCBM layer to improve hole blocking and electron extraction.
For convenience, the layers of solar cell 100 between bottom contact 104 and buffer layer 112 (i.e., hole-selective layer 106, absorption layer 108, and electron-selective layer 110, as well as any additional associated layers) are referred to herein, collectively, as perovskite cell 122.
At operation 205, buffer layer 112 is formed on electron acceptor layer 110. Buffer layer 112 comprises a layer of oxide nanoparticles 120, which is formed by dispersing a solution comprising the nanoparticles and isopropyl alcohol (IPA), spin coating the mixture onto layer 110 to form a nascent buffer layer, and enabling the removal of the solvent from the solution (e.g., via evaporation at room temperature or at a slightly elevated temperature in an oven or on a hotplate).
Each of nanoparticles 120 comprises a wide-bandgap oxide, wherein “wide bandgap” is defined as an effective energy bandgap greater than 2.0 eV. In the depicted example, nanoparticles 120 comprise zinc oxide that is doped with approximately 2 mol % aluminum (i.e., AZO). Zinc oxide is a particularly attractive host material of nanoparticles 120 due to its deep valence level of approximately −7.6 eV. In addition, the use of aluminum-doped zinc oxide (AZO) nanoparticles reduces or eliminates the development of an extraction barrier that can arise from a misalignment of the work functions of ZnO and the ITO of top contact 114, thereby achieving a more ohmic top contact. However, one skilled in the art will recognize, after reading this Specification, that many alternative materials can be used in nanoparticles 120 without departing from the scope of the present invention. Alternative materials suitable for use in nanoparticles 120 include, without limitation, tin oxide (SnO2), titanium oxide (TiO2), tungsten oxide (W2O3), aluminum oxide (Al2O3), silicon dioxide (SiO2), nickel oxide (NiO), molybdenum oxide (MoOx), etc. Further, those skilled in the art will understand that the nanoparticles can be doped with many materials other than aluminum; including, without limitation, hydrogen, indium, gallium, and the like. A characteristic of a suitable dopant is that it can be alloyed into the host material (e.g., zinc oxide, etc.) and improve the conductivity of the host material. In some other embodiments, wide-bandgap oxide materials are undoped.
It is an aspect of the present invention that forming buffer layer 112 using solution-based processing avoids some of the complications that arise in the prior art. For example, it is well known that bonds within a perovskite can be broken when material is deposited on the perovskite material using a high-energy process, such as sputtering. Since solution-based processing low-energy, its use enables buffer layer 112 to be formed on the perovskite material of absorption layer 110 with little or no damage.
At operation 206, top contact 114 is formed on buffer layer 112 such that it is substantially transparent for light signal 118. For the purposes of this Specification, including the appended claims, “transparent” is defined as having a transmittance equal to or greater than 60%, where transmittance is typically measured at a wavelength of 550 nm, corresponding to the maximum of the human eye luminosity curve. To form top contact 114, a layer of ITO having a thickness within the range of approximately 60 nm to approximately 500 nm (preferably approximately 100 nm) is sputtered onto buffer layer 112 and then annealed at a temperature less than or equal to 200° C. It is another aspect of the present invention that the presence and robustness of the layers of buffer layer 112 enable the sputter deposition of the ITO as a transparent electrode with little or no damage to underlying electron-selective layer 110 or the perovskite material of absorption layer 108.
In some embodiments, another material suitable for forming a substantially optically transparent, electrically conductive layer (e.g., AZO, IZO, HZO, etc.) is sputtered onto buffer layer 112.
At optional operation 207, antireflection coating 116 is formed on top contact 114 via conventional evaporation. In the depicted example, antireflection coating 116 is a layer of magnesium fluoride (MgF2) having a thickness of approximately 150 nm; however, any suitable antireflection coating can be used in embodiments of the present invention. In some embodiments, an additional antireflection coating is formed on the bottom surface of substrate 102.
Fully fabricated solar cells analogous to solar cell 100 were found to have an open circuit voltage (Voc) greater than 0.9 V, which evinces the efficacy of buffer layer 112 for protecting the integrity of the organic layers of the solar cell structure (i.e., absorption layer 108 and electron-selective layer 110).
It should be noted that the materials and layer thicknesses provided herein are merely exemplary and that alternative materials and/or layer thicknesses can be used without departing from the scope of the present invention.
The results shown in plots 300 and 306 demonstrate the efficacy of buffer layer 112 as a support layer for the formation of an operative top contact using conventional sputtering without damage to the underlying organic layers. First, the fill factor and voltage for solar cells 302 and 304 are substantially comparable, demonstrating that a top contact 114 disposed on an oxide-nanoparticle-based buffer layer (i.e., buffer layer 112) operates in normal fashion. Second, the fill factor and voltage for solar cells 302 and 304 are comparable. It should be noted that the lower current density measured for solar cell 302 can be attributed to the fact that its bottom contact does not function as a back reflector. Third, plot 306 shows that the inclusion of buffer layer 112 enables operation of the solar cells at room temperature with a stabilized power efficiency of 12.3% and 13.5% for solar cells 302 and 304, respectively.
Table 1 below summarizes measurement data obtained for solar cells 302 and 304.
As discussed above, in some embodiments, the host material of nanoparticles 120 is doped to facilitate ohmic-contact operation of top contact 114. By employing doped oxide-based nanoparticles in buffer layer 112 (e.g., AZO), the work functions of the host material (e.g., ZnO) and the material of top contact 114 (e.g., ITO) can be more closely aligned. This mitigates the development of an extraction barrier that can impair operation of the solar cell.
It is an aspect of the present invention that the ability to form a high-quality transparent contact on a structure comprising organic materials enables device structures that were difficult, if not impossible, to produce in the prior art. Examples of such structures include, without limitation, mechanically stacked tandem solar cells including a perovskite-based top cell, monolithically integrated tandem solar cells including a perovskite-based top cell, monolithically integrated tandem solar cells including perovskite-based top and bottom cells, and the like.
Silicon solar cell 402 is a conventional silicon-based solar cell comprising bottom contact 406, silicon cell 408, and top contact 410. One skilled in the art will recognize that, like solar cell 100, a conventional silicon-based solar cell normally includes additional layers, such as p-type and n-type amorphous silicon heterojunction layers, etc. In similar fashion to perovskite cell 122 described above, for convenience, the layers of silicon solar cell 402 between bottom contact 406 and top contact 410 (i.e., absorption layer, heterojunction and carrier-selective layers, etc.) are referred to herein, collectively, as silicon cell 408.
Solar cell 602 is fabricated in substantially conventional fashion, beginning with the texturing of the top surface of a silicon substrate, which functions as the absorption layer of silicon cell 408.
For example, silicon cell 408 begins as a silicon substrate that is an N-type, 280-μm-thick, double-side polished float-zone (FZ) wafer. The top surface of the substrate is textured by first depositing a 250-nm-thick, low-refractive-index silicon nitride layer by plasma-enhanced chemical-vapor deposition (PECVD) on its bottom surface and exposing the unprotected top surface to potassium hydroxide (KOH).
After removal of the nitride layer from the bottom surface, intrinsic and n-type amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) layers (not shown) are deposited on the top surface of the substrate.
In similar fashion, intrinsic and p-type a-Si:H films layers (not shown) are deposited on bottom top surface of the substrate to complete silicon cell 408.
Bottom contact 406 is then formed by depositing a layer of silver (or other suitable electrically conductive material) having an appropriate thickness.
Top contact 410 is formed by depositing, in conventional fashion, a layer of a transparent electrically conductive material. In the depicted example, top contact 410 comprises a layer of ITO having a thickness of approximately 500 nm.
Once silicon solar cell 402 is complete, it is joined with solar cell 100 in conventional fashion. In the depicted example, the solar cells are affixed via adhesive layer 404, which is a layer of electrically insulating epoxy that is substantially transparent for light signal 118. In some embodiments, solar cells 100 and 402 are mechanically joined via another conventional method.
Table 2 below summarizes measurement data obtained for solar cells 100 and 402.
The data shows that the efficiency of unfiltered solar cell 402 is 17.0%. It should be noted that the Voc of solar cell 402 is limited due to excess shaded area from the aperture mask used during its illumination, as well as the absorption of the light signal in top contact 114. In the mechanically stacked configuration, in which light signal 118 passes through solar cell 100 prior to impinging on solar cell 402, the combined efficiency of the two solar cells is 18.0% with a JSC of 13.3 mA/cm2 from the bottom cell (i.e., solar cell 402).
It is an additional aspect of the present invention that a nanoparticle-based buffer layer, such as buffer layer 112, enables a sputtered ITO contact layer that acts as a barrier for moisture ingress, methylammonium egress, while the buffer layer itself protects the contact layer from halide-based corrosion.
It is yet another aspect of the present invention that the inclusion of a buffer layer comprising oxide-based nanoparticles enables monolithically integrated tandem solar cells comprising perovskite-based top cells combined with bottom cells that can include any of a wide range of materials, such as silicon, CIGS, a lower EG perovskite, and the like.
Solar cell 602 is a silicon heterojunction solar cell that is analogous to solar cell 402 described above and with respect to
The fabrication of solar cell 602, up to the formation of center contact 604, is as described above and with respect to silicon solar cell 402.
To form center contact 604, a thin (e.g., 20-nm thick) layer of ITO is deposited through a shadow mask to define multiple conductive regions (e.g., 1 cm by 1 cm). These ITO regions provide a recombination junction between the silicon and perovskite cells with minimal parasitic absorption. It should be noted that the ITO layer can be very thin because lateral conductivity is not of concern at this junction. It should also be noted that the shape of the ITO regions can be other than square.
Once an appropriate center contact has been formed, the thin-film layer structure of solar cell 100 is formed on solar cell 602 in substantially the same manner as described above and with respect to
It should be noted, however, that the processes used to fabricate the constituent layers of solar cell 100 must be compatible with the solar structure on which they are formed. For example, in some embodiments, hole-selective layer 106 comprises a material other than PEDOT:PSS, such as NiO. An NiO layer, however, is typically annealed at 300° C. for several minutes after its deposition. Unfortunately, such an annealing step would lead to hydrogen loss in the doped amorphous silicon layers and/or crystallization of the amorphous silicon layers of silicon solar cell 602 and compromise their passivation properties. As a result, in accordance with the present invention, a hole-selective layer comprising NiO is annealed at a lower temperature for a longer period of time (e.g., at 200° C. for 10 hours) than would normally be used in the prior art.
It is yet another aspect of the present invention that the formation of an effective buffer layer and top contact using low-temperature, solution-based processing enables monolithically integrated multi-junction solar cell structures (i.e., having two or more junctions) that are not possible in the prior art—specifically, multi-junction configurations that include perovskite absorption layers in every one of the stacked cells.
Each of solar cells 100-1 and 100-2 is analogous to solar cell 100, described above; however, perovskite cells 122-1 and 122-2 are formed such that the EG of perovskite cell 122-1 is lower than the EG of perovskite cell 122-2. In some embodiments, at least one of perovskite cells 122-1 and 122-2 has a regular (i.e., not inverted) architecture.
In the depicted example, perovskite cell 122-1 comprises MAPbI3 perovskite having an EG of approximately 1.6 eV, while perovskite cell 122-2 comprises MAPbBr3 perovskite having an EG of approximately 2.3 eV.
Center contact 702 is analogous to top contact 114; however, in some embodiments, center contact 702 includes a plurality of separate conductive regions as described above and with respect to center contact 604.
Solar cell 700 is formed using sequential applications of method 200, described above. It should be noted that, since all operations of method 200 are performed at low temperature (i.e., 150° C.), there is no theoretical limit to the number of solar cell structures that can be included in a multi-junction solar cell. As a result, monolithically integrated stacked solar cell devices having three or more junctions can be made simply by employing method 200 the requisite number of times.
Table 3 below summarizes a portion of the design space for a multi-junction solar cell, such as solar cell 700.
In order to fabricate solar cell 800, method 200 is performed twice. In the first performance of the method, a first perovskite absorption layer is formed such that it resides on layer stack 802 as part of perovskite cell 122-1. The first perovskite layer has an EG that is higher than the EG of silicon.
Method 200 is then repeated such that a second perovskite layer is formed such that it resides on layer stack 804 as part of perovskite cell 122-2. The second perovskite layer has an EG that is higher than the EG of the first perovskite layer.
As a result, each solar cell structure of solar cell 800 is operative for converting the energy of a different portion of the wavelength spectrum of light signal 118 into electrical energy.
It is to be understood that the disclosure teaches only examples of the illustrative embodiment and that many variations of the invention can easily be devised by those skilled in the art after reading this disclosure and that the scope of the present invention is to be determined by the following claims.