Formerly the "Solar and Photovoltaic Engineering Research Center (SPERC)"

Recent Submissions

  • Efficient Photon Recycling and Radiation Trapping in Cesium Lead Halide Perovskite Waveguides

    Dursun, Ibrahim; Zheng, Yangzi; Guo, Tianle; de Bastiani, Michele; Turedi, Bekir; Sinatra, Lutfan; Haque, Mohammed; Sun, Bin; Zhumekenov, Ayan A.; Saidaminov, Makhsud I.; Garcia de Arquer, F. Pelayo; Sargent, Edward H.; Wu, Tao; Gartstein, Yuri N; Bakr, Osman; Mohammed, Omar F.; Malko, Anton V. (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-05-26)
    Cesium lead halide perovskite materials have attracted considerable attention for potential applications in lasers, light emitting diodes and photodetectors. Here, we provide the experimental and theoretical evidence for photon recycling in CsPbBr3 perovskite microwires. Using two-photon excitation, we recorded photoluminescence (PL) lifetimes and emission spectra as a function of the lateral distance between PL excitation and collection positions along the microwire, with separations exceeding 100 µm. At longer separations, the PL spectrum develops a red-shifted emission peak accompanied by an appearance of well-resolved rise times in the PL kinetics. We developed quantitative modeling that accounts for bimolecular recombination and photon recycling within the microwire waveguide and is sufficient to account for the observed decay modifications. It relies on a high radiative efficiency in CsPbBr3 perovskite microwires and provides crucial information about the potential impact of photon recycling and waveguide trapping on optoelectronic properties of cesium lead halide perovskite materials.
  • Robust nonfullerene solar cells approaching unity external quantum efficiency enabled by suppression of geminate recombination

    Baran, Derya; Gasparini, Nicola; Wadsworth, Andrew; Tan, Ching Hong; Wehbe, Nimer; Song, Xin; Hamid, Zeinab; Zhang, Weimin; Neophytou, Marios; Kirchartz, Thomas; Brabec, Christoph J.; Durrant, James R.; McCulloch, Iain (Springer Nature, 2018-05-21)
    Nonfullerene solar cells have increased their efficiencies up to 13%, yet quantum efficiencies are still limited to 80%. Here we report efficient nonfullerene solar cells with quantum efficiencies approaching unity. This is achieved with overlapping absorption bands of donor and acceptor that increases the photon absorption strength in the range from about 570 to 700 nm, thus, almost all incident photons are absorbed in the active layer. The charges generated are found to dissociate with negligible geminate recombination losses resulting in a short-circuit current density of 20 mA cm-2 along with open-circuit voltages >1 V, which is remarkable for a 1.6 eV bandgap system. Most importantly, the unique nano-morphology of the donor:acceptor blend results in a substantially improved stability under illumination. Understanding the efficient charge separation in nonfullerene acceptors can pave the way to robust and recombination-free organic solar cells.
  • Efficient Long - Range Electron Transfer Processes in Polyfluorene – Perylene Diimide Blends

    Isakova, Anna; Karuthedath, Safakath; Arnold, Thomas; Howse, Jonathan; Topham, Paul D.; Toolan, Daniel Thomas William; Laquai, Frédéric; Lüer, Larry (Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2018-05-17)
    In bulk heterojunction donor-acceptor (D-A) blends, high photovoltaic yields require charge carrier separation to outcompete geminate recombination. Recently, evidence for long-range electron transfer mechanisms has been presented, avoiding strongly-bound interfacial charge transfer (CT) states. However, due to the lack of specific optical probes at the D-A interface, a detailed quantification of the long-range processes has not been feasible, until now. Here, we present a transient absorption study of long-range processes in a unique phase consisting of perylene diimide (PDI) crystals intercalated with polyfluorene (PFO), as widely used non-fullerene electron acceptor and donor, respectively. The intercalated PDI:PFO phase possesses specific well-separated spectral features for the excited states at the D-A interface. By use of femtosecond spectroscopy we reveal the excitation dynamics in this blend. PDI excitons undergo a clear symmetry-breaking charge separation in the PDI bulk, which occurs within several hundred femtoseconds, thus outcompeting excimer formation, known to limit charge separation yields when PDI is used as an acceptor. In contrast, PFO excitons are dissociated with very high yields in a one-step long-range process, enabled by large delocalization of the PFO exciton wavefunction. Moreover, both scenarios circumvent the formation of strongly-bound interfacial CT states and enable a targeted interfacial design for bulk heterojunction blends with near unity charge separation yields.
  • Molecular dynamics of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV) fusion heptad repeat trimers

    Kandeel, Mahmoud; Al-Taher, Abdulla; Li, Huifang; Schwingenschlögl, Udo; Alnazawi, Mohamed (Elsevier BV, 2018-05-17)
    Structural studies related to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV) infection process are so limited. In this study, molecular dynamics (MD) simulation was carried out to unravel changes in the MERS CoV heptad repeat domains (HRs) and factors affecting fusion state HR stability. Results indicated that HR trimer is more rapidly stabilized, having stable system energy and lowest root mean square deviations (RMSDs). While trimers were the predominant active form of CoVs HR, monomers were also discovered in both of viral and cellular membranes. In order to find the differences between S2 monomer and trimer molecular dynamics, S2 monomer were modelled and subjected to MD simulation. In contrast to S2 trimer, S2 monomer was unstable, having high RMSDs with major drifts above 8 Å. Fluctuation of HR residue positions revealed major changes in the C-terminal of HR2 and the linker coil between HR1 and HR2 in both monomer and trimer. Hydrophobic residues at the “a” and “d” positions of HR helices stabilize the whole system, having minimal changes in RMSD. The global distance test and contact area difference scores support instability of MERS CoV S2 monomer. Analysis of HR1-HR2 inter-residue contacts and interaction energy revealed three different energy scales along HR helices. Two strong interaction energies were identified at the start of the HR2 helix and at the C-terminal of HR2. The identified critical residues by MD simulation and residues at a and d position of HR helix were strong stabilizers of HRs recognition.
  • Atomic-Layer-Deposited AZO Outperforms ITO in High-Efficiency Polymer Solar Cells

    Kan, Zhipeng; Wang, Zhenwei; Firdaus, Yuliar; Babics, Maxime; Alshareef, Husam N.; Beaujuge, Pierre (Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2018-05-11)
    Tin-doped indium oxide (ITO) transparent conducting electrodes are widely used across the display industry, and are currently the cornerstone of photovoltaic device developments, taking a substantial share in the manufacturing cost of large-area modules. However, cost and supply considerations are set to limit the extensive use of indium for optoelectronic device applications and, in turn, alternative transparent conducting oxide (TCO) materials are required. In this report, we show that aluminum-doped zinc oxide (AZO) thin films grown by atomic layer deposition (ALD) are sufficiently conductive and transparent to outperform ITO as the cathode in inverted polymer solar cells. Reference polymer solar cells made with atomic-layer-deposited AZO cathodes, PCE10 as the polymer donor and PC71BM as the fullerene acceptor (model systems), reach power conversion efficiencies of ca. 10% (compared to ca. 9% with ITO-coated glass), without compromising other figures of merit. These ALD-grown AZO electrodes are promising for a wide range of optoelectronic device applications relying on TCOs.
  • Phase Transition Control for High-Performance Blade-Coated Perovskite Solar Cells

    Li, Jianbo; Munir, Rahim; Fan, Yuanyuan; Niu, Tianqi; Liu, Yucheng; Zhong, Yufei; Yang, Zhou; Tian, Yuansi; Liu, Bo; Sun, Jie; Smilgies, Detlef-M.; Thoroddsen, Sigurdur T; Amassian, Aram; Zhao, Kui; Liu, Shengzhong (Frank) (Elsevier BV, 2018-05-07)
    Summary Here, we have identified that the key issue for rational transitioning from spin-coating to blade-coating processes of perovskite films arises from whether intermediate phases participate in the phase transition. In situ characterizations were carried out to provide a comprehensive picture of structural evolution and crystal growth mechanisms. These findings present opportunities for designing an effective process for blade-coating perovskite film: a large-grained dense perovskite film with high crystal quality and photophysical properties can be obtained only via direct crystallization for both spin-coating and blade-coating processes. As a result, the blade-coated MAPbI3 films deliver excellent charge-collection efficiency at both short circuit and open circuit, and photovoltaic properties with efficiencies of 18.74% (0.09 cm2) and 17.06% (1 cm2) in planar solar cells. The significant advances in understanding how the phase transition links spin-coating and blade-coating processes should provide a path toward high-performance printed perovskite devices.
  • Hybrid Tandem Quantum Dot/Organic Solar Cells with Enhanced Photocurrent and Efficiency via Ink and Interlayer Engineering

    Kim, Taesoo; Firdaus, Yuliar; Kirmani, Ahmad R.; Liang, Ru-Ze; Hu, Hanlin; Liu, Mengxia; El Labban, Abdulrahman; Hoogland, Sjoerd; Beaujuge, Pierre; Sargent, Edward H.; Amassian, Aram (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-05-03)
    Realization of colloidal quantum dot (CQD)/organic photovoltaic (OPV) tandem solar cells that integrate the strong infrared absorption of CQDs with large photovoltages of OPVs is an attractive option toward high-performing, low-cost thin film solar cells. To date, monolithic hybrid tandem integration of CQD/OPV solar cells has been restricted due to the CQD ink’s catastrophic damage to the organic subcell, thus forcing the low bandgap CQD to be used as front cell. This sub-optimal configuration limits the maximum achievable photocurrent in CQD/OPV hybrid tandem solar cells. In this work, we demonstrate hybrid tandem solar cells employing a low-bandgap CQD back cell on top of an organic front cell thanks to a modified CQD ink formulation and a robust interconnection layer (ICL) which together overcome the long-standing integration challenges for CQD and organic subcells. The resulting tandem architecture surpasses previously reported current densities by ~20-25% and yields a state-of-the-art power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 9.4%.
  • Carrier population control and surface passivation in solar cells

    Cuevas, Andres; Wan, Yimao; Yan, Di; Samundsett, Christian; Allen, Thomas; Zhang, Xinyu; Cui, Jie; Bullock, James (Elsevier BV, 2018-05-02)
    Controlling the concentration of charge carriers near the surface is essential for solar cells. It permits to form regions with selective conductivity for either electrons or holes and it also helps to reduce the rate at which they recombine. Chemical passivation of the surfaces is equally important, and it can be combined with population control to implement carrier-selective, passivating contacts for solar cells. This paper discusses different approaches to suppress surface recombination and to manipulate the concentration of carriers by means of doping, work function and charge. It also describes some of the many surface-passivating contacts that are being developed for silicon solar cells, restricted to experiments performed by the authors.
  • Charge Photogeneration and Recombination in Mesostructured CuSCN-Nanowire/PC70 BM Solar Cells

    Firdaus, Yuliar; Seitkhan, Akmaral; Eisner, Flurin; Sit, Wai-Yu; Kan, Zhipeng; Wehbe, Nimer; Balawi, Ahmed H.; Yengel, Emre; Karuthedath, Safakath; Laquai, Frédéric; Anthopoulos, Thomas D. (Wiley, 2018-05-02)
    Fullerene‐based materials are widely used as electron acceptors in organic bulk‐heterojunction solar cells; yet, they have rarely been used as the only photoactive component due to their low absorbance and limited charge generation efficiency. However, blending the wide‐bandgap p‐type material copper (I) thiocyanate (CuSCN) with [6,6]‐phenyl‐C71‐butyric acid methyl ester (PC70BM) leads to the formation of a unique mesostructured p‐n like heterointerface between CuSCN and PC70BM and solar cells with a power conversion efficiency (PCE) of up to 5.4%. Here, we examine in detail the reasons for the surprisingly good device performance and elucidate the charge photogeneration and recombination mechanisms in CuSCN‐based devices with PC70BM as the exclusive light‐absorbing material. Our studies clearly demonstrate that a substantial fraction of the photocurrent in the CuSCN‐based devices results from improved dissociation of fullerene excitons and efficient charge transfer at the CuSCN:PC70BM interface combined with reduced geminate and nongeminate charge recombination losses. Our results have implications beyond the fullerene‐based devices studied here, as they demonstrate that careful selection of a mesostructured p‐type transparent semiconductor paves the path to a new type of efficient single photoactive material solar cells.
  • Accurate Extraction of Charge Carrier Mobility in 4-Probe Field-Effect Transistors

    Choi, Hyun Ho; Rodionov, Yaroslav I.; Paterson, Alexandra F.; Panidi, Julianna; Saranin, Danila; Kharlamov, Nikolai; Didenko, Sergei I.; Anthopoulos, Thomas D.; Cho, Kilwon; Podzorov, Vitaly (Wiley, 2018-04-30)
    Charge carrier mobility is an important characteristic of organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) and other semiconductor devices. However, accurate mobility determination in FETs is frequently compromised by issues related to Schottky-barrier contact resistance, that can be efficiently addressed by measurements in 4-probe/Hall-bar contact geometry. Here, it is shown that this technique, widely used in materials science, can still lead to significant mobility overestimation due to longitudinal channel shunting caused by voltage probes in 4-probe structures. This effect is investigated numerically and experimentally in specially designed multiterminal OFETs based on optimized novel organic-semiconductor blends and bulk single crystals. Numerical simulations reveal that 4-probe FETs with long but narrow channels and wide voltage probes are especially prone to channel shunting, that can lead to mobilities overestimated by as much as 350%. In addition, the first Hall effect measurements in blended OFETs are reported and how Hall mobility can be affected by channel shunting is shown. As a solution to this problem, a numerical correction factor is introduced that can be used to obtain much more accurate experimental mobilities. This methodology is relevant to characterization of a variety of materials, including organic semiconductors, inorganic oxides, monolayer materials, as well as carbon nanotube and semiconductor nanocrystal arrays.
  • Critical review of the molecular design progress in non-fullerene electron acceptors towards commercially viable organic solar cells

    Wadsworth, Andrew; Moser, Maximilian; Marks, Adam; Little, Mark S.; Gasparini, Nicola; Brabec, Christoph J.; Baran, Derya; McCulloch, Iain (Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2018-04-26)
    Fullerenes have formed an integral part of high performance organic solar cells over the last 20 years, however their inherent limitations in terms of synthetic flexibility, cost and stability have acted as a motivation to develop replacements; the so-called non-fullerene electron acceptors. A rapid evolution of such materials has taken place over the last few years, yielding a number of promising candidates that can exceed the device performance of fullerenes and provide opportunities to improve upon the stability and processability of organic solar cells. In this review we explore the structure-property relationships of a library of non-fullerene acceptors, highlighting the important chemical modifications that have led to progress in the field and provide an outlook for future innovations in electron acceptors for use in organic photovoltaics.
  • Solution-Processed In2O3/ZnO Heterojunction Electron Transport Layers for Efficient Organic Bulk Heterojunction and Inorganic Colloidal Quantum-Dot Solar Cells

    Eisner, Flurin; Seitkhan, Akmaral; Han, Yang; Khim, Dongyoon; Yengel, Emre; Kirmani, Ahmad R.; Xu, Jixian; García de Arquer, F. Pelayo; Sargent, Edward H.; Amassian, Aram; Fei, Zhuping; Heeney, Martin; Anthopoulos, Thomas D. (Wiley, 2018-04-25)
    We report the development of a solution‐processed In2O3/ZnO heterojunction electron transport layer (ETL) and its application in high efficiency organic bulk‐heterojunction (BHJ) and inorganic colloidal quantum dot (CQD) solar cells. Study of the electrical properties of this low‐dimensional oxide heterostructure via field‐effect measurements reveals that electron transport along the heterointerface is enhanced by more than a tenfold when compared to the individual single‐layer oxides. Use of the heterojunction as the ETL in organic BHJ photovoltaics is found to consistently improve the cell's performance due to the smoothening of the ZnO surface, increased electron mobility and a noticeable reduction in the cathode's work function, leading to a decrease in the cells’ series resistance and a higher fill factor (FF). Specifically, non‐fullerene based organic BHJ solar cells based on In2O3/ZnO ETLs exhibit very high power conversion efficiencies (PCE) of up to 12.8%, and high FFs of over 70%. The bilayer ETL concept is further extended to inorganic lead‐sulphide CQD solar cells. Resulting devices exhibit excellent performance with a maximum PCE of 8.2% and a FF of 56.8%. The present results highlight the potential of multilayer oxides as novel ETL systems and lay the foundation for future developments.
  • Multidirection Piezoelectricity in Mono- and Multilayered Hexagonal α-In2Se3

    Xue, Fei; Zhang, Junwei; Hu, Weijin; Hsu, Wei-Ting; Han, Ali; Leung, Siu; Huang, Jing-Kai; Wan, Yi; Liu, Shuhai; Zhang, Junli; He, Jr-Hau; Chang, Wen-Hao; Wang, Zhong Lin; Zhang, Xixiang; Li, Lain-Jong (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-04-25)
    Piezoelectric materials have been widely used for sensors, actuators, electronics, and energy conversion. Two-dimensional (2D) ultrathin semiconductors, such as monolayer h-BN and MoS2 with their atom-level geometry, are currently emerging as new and attractive members of the piezoelectric family. However, their piezoelectric polarization is commonly limited to the in-plane direction of odd-number ultrathin layers, largely restricting their application in integrated nanoelectromechanical systems. Recently, theoretical calculations have predicted the existence of out-of-plane and in-plane piezoelectricity in monolayer α-In2Se3. Here, we experimentally report the coexistence of out-of-plane and in-plane piezoelectricity in monolayer to bulk α-In2Se3, attributed to their noncentrosymmetry originating from the hexagonal stacking. Specifically, the corresponding d33 piezoelectric coefficient of α-In2Se3 increases from 0.34 pm/V (monolayer) to 5.6 pm/V (bulk) without any odd-even effect. In addition, we also demonstrate a type of α-In2Se3-based flexible piezoelectric nanogenerator as an energy-harvesting cell and electronic skin. The out-of-plane and in-plane piezoelectricity in α-In2Se3 flakes offers an opportunity to enable both directional and nondirectional piezoelectric devices to be applicable for self-powered systems and adaptive and strain-tunable electronics/optoelectronics.
  • The Role of the Side Chain on the Performance of N-type Conjugated Polymers in Aqueous Electrolytes

    Giovannitti, Alexander; Maria, Iuliana P.; Hanifi, David; Donahue, Mary J.; Bryant, Daniel; Barth, Katrina J.; Makdah, Beatrice E.; Savva, Achilleas; Moia, Davide; Zetek, Matyáš; Barnes, Piers R.F.; Reid, Obadiah G.; Inal, Sahika; Rumbles, Garry; Malliaras, George G.; Nelson, Jenny; Rivnay, Jonathan; McCulloch, Iain (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-04-24)
    We report a design strategy that allows the preparation of solution processable n-type materials from low boiling point solvents for organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs). The polymer backbone is based on NDI-T2 copolymers where a branched alkyl side chain is gradually exchanged for a linear ethylene glycol-based side chain. A series of random copolymers was prepared with glycol side chain percentages of 0, 10, 25, 50, 75, 90, and 100 with respect to the alkyl side chains. These were characterized to study the influence of the polar side chains on interaction with aqueous electrolytes, their electrochemical redox reactions, and performance in OECTs when operated in aqueous electrolytes. We observed that glycol side chain percentages of >50% are required to achieve volumetric charging, while lower glycol chain percentages show a mixed operation with high required voltages to allow for bulk charging of the organic semiconductor. A strong dependence of the electron mobility on the fraction of glycol chains was found for copolymers based on NDI-T2, with a significant drop as alkyl side chains are replaced by glycol side chains.
  • A triphenylamine-based push-pull – σ – C60 dyad as photoactive molecular material for single-component organic solar cells: synthesis, characterizations and photophysical properties

    Labrunie, Antoine; Gorenflot, Julien; Babics, Maxime; Aleveque, Olivier; Dabos-Seignon, Sylvie; Balawi, Ahmed H.; Kan, Zhipeng; Wohlfahrt, Markus; Levillain, Eric; Hudhomme, Pietrick; Beaujuge, Pierre; Laquai, Frédéric; Cabanetos, Clément; Blanchard, Philippe (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-04-23)
    A push-pull – σ – C60 molecular dyad was synthesized via Huisgen-type click-chemistry and used as photoactive material for single-component organic solar cells. Steady-state photoluminescence (PL) experiments of the dyad in solution show a significant quenching of the emission of the push-pull moiety. Spin-casting of a solution of the dyad results in homogenous and smooth thin-films, which exhibit complete PL quenching in line with ultrafast photo-induced electron-transfer in the solid-state. Spectro-electrochemistry reveals the optical signatures of radical cations and radical anions. Evaluation of the charge carrier mobility by space-charge limited current measurements gives an electron-mobility of μe = 4.3 × 10-4 cm2 V-1 s-1, ca. 50 times higher than the hole-mobility. Single-component organic solar cells yield an open-circuit voltage Voc of 0.73 V and a short-circuit current density of 2.1 mA cm-2 however, a poor fill-factor FF (29%) is obtained, resulting in low power conversion efficiency of only 0.4%. Combined TA and time-delayed collection field (TDCF) experiments show mostly ultrafast photon-to-charge conversion and a small component of diffusion-limited exciton dissociation, revealing the presence of pure fullerene domains. Furthermore, a strong field dependence of charge generation is observed, governing the device fill factor, which is further reduced by a competition between extraction and fast recombination of separated charges.
  • Lipid Bilayer Formation on Organic Electronic Materials

    Zhang, Yi; Wustoni, Shofarul; Savva, Achilleas; Giovannitti, Alexander; McCulloch, Iain; Inal, Sahika (Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2018-04-23)
    The lipid bilayer is the elemental structure of cell membrane, forming a stable barrier between the interior and exterior of the cell while hosting membrane proteins that enable selective transport of biologically important compounds and cellular recognition. Monitoring the quality and function of lipid bilayers is thus essential and can be performed using electrically active substrates that allow for transduction of signals. Such a promising electronic transducer material is the conducting polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) doped with poly(styrene sulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) which has provided a plethora of novel bio transducing architectures. The challenge is however in assembling a bilayer on the conducting polymer surface, which is defect-free and has high mobility. Herein, we investigate the fusion of zwitterionic vesicles on a variety of PEDOT:PSS films, but also on an electron transporting, negatively charged organic semiconductor, in order to understand the surface properties that trigger vesicle fusion. The PEDOT:PSS films are prepared from dispersions containing different concentrations of ethylene glycol included as a formulation additive, which gives a handle to modulate surface physicochemical properties without a compromise on the chemical composition. The strong correlation between the polarity of the surface, the fusion of vesicles and the mobility of the resulting bilayer aides extracting design principles for the development of future conducting polymers that will enable the formation of lipid bilayers.
  • 2D matrix engineering for homogeneous quantum dot coupling in photovoltaic solids

    Xu, Jixian; Voznyy, Oleksandr; Liu, Mengxia; Kirmani, Ahmad R.; Walters, Grant; Munir, Rahim; Abdelsamie, Maged; Proppe, Andrew H.; Sarkar, Amrita; García de Arquer, F. Pelayo; Wei, Mingyang; Sun, Bin; Liu, Min; Ouellette, Olivier; Quintero-Bermudez, Rafael; Li, Jie; Fan, James; Quan, Li Na; Todorovic, Petar; Tan, Hairen; Hoogland, Sjoerd; Kelley, Shana O.; Stefik, Morgan; Amassian, Aram; Sargent, Edward H. (Springer Nature, 2018-04-20)
    Colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) are promising photovoltaic (PV) materials because of their widely tunable absorption spectrum controlled by nanocrystal size1,2. Their bandgap tunability allows not only the optimization of single-junction cells, but also the fabrication of multijunction cells that complement perovskites and silicon 3 . Advances in surface passivation2,4-7, combined with advances in device structures 8 , have contributed to certified power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) that rose to 11% in 2016 9 . Further gains in performance are available if the thickness of the devices can be increased to maximize the light harvesting at a high fill factor (FF). However, at present the active layer thickness is limited to ~300 nm by the concomitant photocarrier diffusion length. To date, CQD devices thicker than this typically exhibit decreases in short-circuit current (JSC) and open-circuit voltage (VOC), as seen in previous reports3,9-11. Here, we report a matrix engineering strategy for CQD solids that significantly enhances the photocarrier diffusion length. We find that a hybrid inorganic-amine coordinating complex enables us to generate a high-quality two-dimensionally (2D) confined inorganic matrix that programmes internanoparticle spacing at the atomic scale. This strategy enables the reduction of structural and energetic disorder in the solid and concurrent improvements in the CQD packing density and uniformity. Consequently, planar devices with a nearly doubled active layer thicknesses (~600 nm) and record values of JSC (32 mA cm-2) are fabricated. The VOC improved as the current was increased. We demonstrate CQD solar cells with a certified record efficiency of 12%.
  • Tantalum Nitride Electron-Selective Contact for Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells

    Yang, Xinbo; Aydin, Erkan; Xu, Hang; Kang, Jingxuan; Hedhili, Mohamed N.; Liu, Wenzhu; Wan, Yimao; Peng, Jun; Samundsett, Christian; Cuevas, Andres; De Wolf, Stefaan (Wiley, 2018-04-19)
    Minimizing carrier recombination at contact regions by using carrier‐selective contact materials, instead of heavily doping the silicon, has attracted considerable attention for high‐efficiency, low‐cost crystalline silicon (c‐Si) solar cells. A novel electron‐selective, passivating contact for c‐Si solar cells is presented. Tantalum nitride (TaN x ) thin films deposited by atomic layer deposition are demonstrated to provide excellent electron‐transporting and hole‐blocking properties to the silicon surface, due to their small conduction band offset and large valence band offset. Thin TaNx interlayers provide moderate passivation of the silicon surfaces while simultaneously allowing a low contact resistivity to n‐type silicon. A power conversion efficiency (PCE) of over 20% is demonstrated with c‐Si solar cells featuring a simple full‐area electron‐selective TaNx contact, which significantly improves the fill factor and the open circuit voltage (Voc) and hence provides the higher PCE. The work opens up the possibility of using metal nitrides, instead of metal oxides, as carrier‐selective contacts or electron transport layers for photovoltaic devices.
  • A 3D Photothermal Structure toward Improved Energy Efficiency in Solar Steam Generation

    Shi, Yusuf; Li, Renyuan; Jin, Yong; Zhuo, Sifei; Shi, Le; Chang, Jian; Hong, Seunghyun; Ng, Kim Choon; Wang, Peng (Elsevier BV, 2018-04-18)
    Summary The energy efficiency in solar steam generation by 2D photothermal materials has approached its limit. In this work, we fabricated 3D cylindrical cup-shaped structures of mixed metal oxide as solar evaporator, and the 3D structure led to a high energy efficiency close to 100% under one-sun illumination due to the capability of the cup wall to recover the diffuse reflectance and thermal radiation heat loss from the 2D cup bottom. Additional heat was gained from the ambient air when the 3D structure was exposed under one-sun illumination, leading to an extremely high steam generation rate of 2.04 kg m−2 h−1. The 3D structure has a high thermal stability and shows great promise in practical applications including domestic wastewater volume reduction and seawater desalination. The results of this work inspire further research efforts to use 3D photothermal structures to break through the energy efficiency limit of 2D photothermal materials.
  • Organic solar cells based on anthracene-containing PPE–PPVs and non-fullerene acceptors

    Alam, Shahidul; Meitzner, Rico; Nwadiaru, Ogechi V.; Friebe, Christian; Cann, Jonathan; Ahner, Johannes; Ulbricht, Christoph; Kan, Zhipeng; Höppener, Stephanie; Hager, Martin D.; Egbe, Daniel A. M.; Welch, Gregory C.; Laquai, Frédéric; Schubert, Ulrich S.; Hoppe, Harald (Springer Nature, 2018-04-13)
    Lately, non-fullerene acceptors (NFAs) have received increasing attention for use in polymer-based bulk-heterojunction (BHJ) organic solar cells (OSCs), as improved photovoltaic performance compared to classical polymer–fullerene blends could be demonstrated. In this study, polymer solar cells based on a statistically substituted anthracene-containing poly(p-phenylene ethynylene)-alt-poly(p-phenylene vinylene)s (PPE–PPVs) copolymer (AnE-PVstat) as donor in combination with a number of different electron accepting materials were investigated. Strong photoluminescence quenching of the polymer donor indicates intimate intermixing of both materials. However, the photovoltaic performances were found to be poor compared to blends that use fullerene as acceptor. Time-delayed collection field (TDCF) measurements demonstrate: charge generation is field-independent, but bimolecular recombination processes limit the fill factor and thus the efficiency of devices.

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