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Advancing Materials To Improve Perovskite Film Thermal Budgets

NREL helps industry improve the thermal processing of solar perovskite films to bring the versatile and cost-effective technology into market.

Advanced materials like perovskite solar cells may be the answer to boosting the competitiveness of solar power, which requires increased scalability, stability, and efficiency of photovoltaic modules.

Up-close view of roll-to-roll processing machinery in a laboratory setting.
NREL's roll-to-roll coating machinery is used to advance solar innovation. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

To validate perovskite solar cells, NREL joined forces with Energy Materials Corp., a New York-based solar company, to determine the thermal budget for the coating of perovskite films using different substrates and perovskite inks.

Both thermal and rapid thermal processing will be studied to determine optimal device processing conditions for NREL's scalable ink and scalable processing.

Benefits of perovskite solar cells include:

  • Low cost
  • Improved lifetimes
  • High device efficiency
  • Device stability
  • High scaling potential.

Demonstrating NREL's photovoltaic research and advanced materials manufacturing capabilities, this work is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies Office and Advanced Manufacturing Office.

Impact

A game-changer for the solar industry, advanced materials like perovskites allow for high-speed, high-yield roll-to-roll printing of photovoltaic modules.

As a thin-film solar cell, perovskites are an alternative to silicon, a common solar manufacturing material with high manufacturing costs and efficiency issues. NREL's work optimizes the materials and coating methods used in making solar components to improve scalability and marketability.

There are also benefits to a joint effort. Combining Energy Materials Corp.'s industry insight and previously curated perovskite research and NREL's state-of-the-art facilities and technology capabilities has furthered perovskite R&D in recent years, helping to ensure that the technology will be ready for commercial success.

Applications for perovskites go beyond solar generation. Perovskites demonstrate promise in a range of other technologies, including:

  • Low-power electronics
  • Solid-state lighting
  • Advanced radiation detection
  • Dynamic sensing and actuation
  • Photo-catalysis
  • Quantum information science.

Capabilities

NREL offers capabilities for perovskite materials and analysis.

Materials Characterization

Materials manufacturing and analysis enable:

  • Rapid thermal processing
  • Scalable processing
  • Microscopy-based structural and composition characterization.

Printing and Coating Processes

NREL has expertise in these printing and coating capabilities:

  • Scale-up
  • Printing
  • Slot-die coating
  • Spin coating
  • Roll-to-roll coating.

Ink Formulation

NREL obtained the necessary chemical precursor to produce a new ink and run initial in-house baseline trials on the improved formulation and processing conditions. NREL researchers are discussing new ink additives to improve film quality and limit defect density.

Validation and Evaluation

NREL conducts device performance and stability validation for solar cell fabrication.

Contact

Maikel Van Hest

RESEARCHER V – MATERIALS SCIENCE

Maikel.van.Hest@nrel.gov | 303-384-6651