Perovskite solar cells: Interfacial loss mechanisms revealed

The SAM layer between the perovskite semiconductor and the ITO contact consists of a single layer of organic molecules. The mechanisms by which this SAM layer reduces losses can be quantified by measuring the surface photovoltage and photoluminescence.

The SAM layer between the perovskite semiconductor and the ITO contact consists of a single layer of organic molecules. The mechanisms by which this SAM layer reduces losses can be quantified by measuring the surface photovoltage and photoluminescence. © HZB

Metal-organic perovskite materials promise low-cost and high-performance solar cells. Now a group at HZB managed to de-couple the different effects of self-assembled monolayers of organic molecules (SAMs) that reduce losses at the interfaces. Their results help to optimise such functional interlayers.

Losses occur in all solar cells. One cause is the recombination of charge carriers at the interfaces. Intermediate layers at such interfaces can reduce these losses through so-called passivation.  Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) with a carbazole core are particularly well suited for the passivation of semiconductor surfaces made of perovskite materials. A team led by HZB physicist Prof. Steve Albrecht together with a group from Kaunas Technical University in Lithuania demonstrated this some time ago, developing a silicon-perovskite-based tandem solar cell with a record efficiency of over 29 %.

Now, for the first time, a team at HZB has analysed the charge carrier dynamics at the perovskite/SAM-modified ITO interface in more detail. From time-resolved surface photovoltage measurements, they were able to extract the density of "electron traps" at the interface as well as the hole transfer rates using a minimalist kinetic model. Complementary information was provided by measuring the time-resolved photoluminescence.

"We were able to determine differences in passivation quality, selectivity and hole transfer rates depending on the structure of the SAM, and demonstrate how the time-resolved surface photovoltage and photoluminescence techniques are complementary," explains Dr. Igal Levine, postdoc at HZB and first author of the paper. Time-resolved surface photovoltage proves to be a relatively simple technique for quantifying charge extraction at buried interfaces that could significantly facilitate the design of ideal charge-selective contacts.

arö

You might also be interested in

  • Nanodiamonds can be activated as photocatalysts with sunlight
    Science Highlight
    30.11.2022
    Nanodiamonds can be activated as photocatalysts with sunlight
    Nanodiamond materials have potential as low-cost photocatalysts. But until now, such carbon nanoparticles required high-energy UV light to become active. The DIACAT consortium has therefore produced and analysed variations of nanodiamond materials. The work shows: If the surface of the nanoparticles is occupied by sufficient hydrogen atoms, even the weaker energy of blue sunlight is sufficient for excitation. Future photocatalysts based on nanodiamonds might be able to convert CO2 or N2 into hydrocarbons or ammonia with sunlight.
  • New monochromator optics for tender X-rays
    Science Highlight
    30.11.2022
    New monochromator optics for tender X-rays
    Until now, it has been extremely tedious to perform measurements with high sensitivity and high spatial resolution using X-ray light in the tender energy range of 1.5 - 5.0 keV. Yet this X-ray light is ideal for investigating energy materials such as batteries or catalysts, but also biological systems. A team from HZB has now solved this problem: The newly developed monochromator optics increase the photon flux in the tender energy range by a factor of 100 and thus enable highly precise measurements of nanostructured systems. The method was successfully tested for the first time on catalytically active nanoparticles and microchips.
  • Tomography shows high potential of copper sulphide solid-state batteries
    Science Highlight
    28.11.2022
    Tomography shows high potential of copper sulphide solid-state batteries
    Solid-state batteries enable even higher energy densities than lithium-ion batteries with high safety. A team led by Prof. Philipp Adelhelm and Dr. Ingo Manke succeeded in observing a solid-state battery during charging and discharging and creating high-resolution 3D images. This showed that cracking can be effectively reduced through higher pressure.