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Perovskite Patent Portfolio

NREL's perovskite patent portfolio focuses on six technology areas, described below, that are critical to developing a commercial perovskite solar cell device.

Whether taken individually or collectively, these patents reflect perovskite device development from an applied perspective, capitalizing on NREL's world-class foundational perovskite research. Contact Bill Hadley to learn more about NREL's licensing process and ways to partner with NREL to further commercialize these technologies.

  • Film Deposition: Patents consisting of novel methods for rapid, inexpensive deposition of high-quality perovskite films. These techniques have been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals and are prepared for scaling to commercial levels.

  • Film Chemistry: Patents consisting of alternative film chemistries to the common methylammonium lead halide (CH3NH3PbI3) perovskite devices. These alternative film compositions have been shown to improve the performance of perovskite films by demonstrating both increased stability and efficiency, and to enable perovskite use in alternative mediums such as quantum dots.

  • Film Efficiency: Patents consisting of film deposition methods, chemistry improvements, and engineering of the perovskite active layer and device architecture to push commercial perovskite device efficiencies to 20% and beyond.

  • Film Stability: Patents comprising technologies that improve the resistance of perovskite devices to environmental factors that degrade device performance over time. These technologies include methods of depositing perovskite films, encapsulant coatings, and novel film chemistries.

  • Hole and Electron Extraction Layer Engineering: Patents comprising improvements to material layers in a perovskite solar cell device beyond the perovskite absorber layer itself. These technologies overcome the limitations of commonly used metal-organic and spiro-OMeTAD device layers.

  • Device Architecture: Patents comprising new perovskite solar cell device designs, such as interdigitated back-contact perovskite solar cell devices, which capitalize on the unique properties of the perovskite layer to create low-cost devices with improved efficiency and reliability.

Key patents in these six areas are listed below by patent number and title, each followed by a summary of the technology.

Perovskite Film Deposition

Methods for Producing and Using Perovskite Materials and Devices Therefrom
U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/312,714

NREL researchers have developed novel one- and two-step methods for the solution growth of methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) and MAPbI2Br perovskite films that involve introducing MACl to the perovskite precursor solution. These methods have been shown to improve both the open-circuit voltage and short-circuit current density of perovskite films and to enhance crystal growth. In addition, NREL researchers have developed dip-coating and spray-coating techniques for preparing perovskite halides on mesoporous and planar substrates that are suitable for high-throughput manufacturing and that can maximize the yield of the precursor into the final device structure. Additional information on this technology is available on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Methods for Producing Single-Crystal Mixed Halide Perovskites
U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/055,712

NREL scientists have developed a simple, low-cost, low-temperature synthesis for preparing single-crystal perovskites such as MAPbBr3. This approach comprises heating a stoichiometric solution of PbBr2 and MABr in an organic solvent and adding tailored levels of Cl to manipulate the bandgap of the perovskite film. Additional information on this technology can be found on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Organo-Metal Halide Perovskites Films and Methods of Making the Same
PCT Application No. PCT/US16/33135

NREL researchers have developed methods for the solution growth and deposition of methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) perovskites. The novel two-step solution growth method includes pre-treating the PbI2 precursor film in a solvent (e.g., ether) and then rapidly extracting the solvent molecule from the PbI2 precursor film, resulting in an increased PbI2-to-MAPbI3 conversion efficiency. This method uses a mix of a stoichiometric and a non-stoichiometric MAPbI3 precursor with an excess amount of methylammonium halide to produce MAPbI3 films with reduced hysteresis and that have a 2% to 3% increase in conversion efficiency when compared to a MAPbI3 film prepared with a standard stoichiometric precursor. Additional information on this technology can be found on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Perovskite Film Chemistry

A General Perovskite Growth Method by Aminium Displacement Reaction
U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/298,079

NREL scientists have developed a novel two-step process to prepare formamidinium lead iodide (FAPbI3) perovskite solar cells that—when compared to MAPbI3 perovskite devices—have a 0.1-eV lower bandgap and an improved photocurrent density. This novel process involves the heating of MAPbI3 films under formamidinium gas in order to substitute the formamidinium cations for methylammonium. Additional information on this technology can be found on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Nanoparticles for Photovoltaic and LED Devices and Methods of Making the Same
U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/343,251

NREL researchers have fabricated photovoltaic cells with quantum dots made of inorganic CsPbI3 perovskite materials. These CsPbI3 quantum dot perovskites have an efficiency of 10.77% and have further demonstrated an improved short-circuit current density and open-circuit voltage after 15 days of operation in ambient conditions. For further information, see NREL's news release, the 2016 Science article, Quantum dot-induced phase stabilization of a-CsPbI3 perovskite for high-efficiency photovoltaics, and the summary of this technology on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Perovskite Film Efficiency

Methods for Producing and Using Perovskite Materials and Devices Therefrom
U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/312,714

NREL researchers have developed novel one- and two-step methods for the solution growth of methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) and MAPbI2Br perovskite films that involve introducing MACl to the perovskite precursor solution. These methods have been shown to improve both the open-circuit voltage and short-circuit current density of perovskite films and to enhance crystal growth. In addition, NREL researchers have developed dip-coating and spray-coating techniques for preparing perovskite halides on mesoporous and planar substrates that are suitable for high-throughput manufacturing and that can maximize the yield of the precursor into the final device structure. Additional information on this technology can be found on the Energy Innovation Portal.

A General Perovskite Growth Method by Aminium Displacement Reaction
U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/298,079

NREL scientists have developed a novel two-step process to prepare formamidinium lead iodide (FAPbI3) perovskite solar cells that—when compared to methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) perovskite devices—have a 0.1-eV lower bandgap and an improved photocurrent density. This novel process involves heating MAPbI3 films under formamidinium gas in order to substitute the formamidinium cations for methylammonium. Additional information on this technology can be found on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Multi-Layered Perovskites, Devices, and Methods of Making the Same
PCT Application No. PCT/US15/62431

NREL researchers have developed a method to tailor the surface composition of thin-film methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) perovskites that involves treating the surface of a MAPbI3 film with an isopropanol solution followed by the annealing step. This process results in a surface layer of an I-Br mixed perovskite that shifts the valence-band position of MABr-treated films by 30–60 meV and increases the open-circuit voltage of MABr-treated films. Additional information on this technology can be found on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Heterojunction Perovskite Photovoltaic Devices and Methods of Making the Same
PCT Application No. PCT/US16/55154

NREL researchers have developed a novel perovskite device architecture that incorporates interdigitated contact geometry comprising alternating lateral p-n junctions across the perovskite active layer. This architecture maximizes photocarrier collection and can be implemented through direct-write, high-throughput electronic printing, or through traditional photolithograph processes. In addition, NREL researchers have used metal wires as the electrode and substrate for electron- or hole-transport layers to create threads that, when woven together, form flexible, defect-tolerant fabric with photovoltaic functionality. Additional information on this technology can be found on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Perovskite Film Stability

Methods for Producing and Using Perovskite Materials and Devices Therefrom
U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/312,714

NREL researchers have developed novel one- and two-step methods for the solution growth of methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) and MAPbI2Br perovskite films that involve introducing MACl to the perovskite precursor solution. These methods have been shown to improve both the open-circuit voltage and short-circuit current density of perovskite films and to enhance crystal growth. In addition, NREL researchers have developed dip-coating and spray-coating techniques for the preparation of perovskite halides on mesoporous and planar substrates that are suitable for high-throughput manufacturing and that can maximize the yield of the precursor into the final device structure. Additional information on this technology can be found on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Nanocomposite Coatings for Perovskite Solar Cells and Methods of Making the Same
United States Provisional Patent Application No. 62/322,972

NREL researchers have developed a method to make a perovskite device with enhanced stability that is hermetically protected from degradation. This method consists of first coating an unencapsulated perovskite device with a metal-oxide layer using standard deposition processes and then coating the metal-oxide layer with a sol-gel coating through either dip-, spray-, spin-, or roll-coating. Additional information on this technology can be found on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Multi-Layered Perovskites, Devices, and Methods of Making the Same
PCT Application No. PCT/US15/62431

NREL researchers have developed a method to tailor the surface composition of thin-film methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) perovskites that involves treating the surface of a MAPbI3 film with an isopropanol solution followed by the annealing step. This process results in a surface layer of an I-Br mixed perovskite that shifts the valence-band position of MABr-treated films by 30–60 meV and increases the open-circuit voltage of MABr-treated films. Additional information on this technology can be found on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Nanoparticles for Photovoltaic and LED Devices and Methods of Making the Same
U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/343,251

NREL researchers have fabricated photovoltaic cells with quantum dots made of inorganic CsPbI3 perovskite materials. These CsPbI3 quantum dot perovskites have an efficiency of 10.77% and have further demonstrated an improved short-circuit current density and open-circuit voltage after 15 days of operation in ambient conditions. For further information, see NREL's news release, the 2016 Science article, Quantum dot-induced phase stabilization of a-CsPbI3 perovskite for high-efficiency photovoltaics, and the summary of this technology on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Hole and Electron Extraction Layer Engineering

Multilayer Carbon Nanotube Film-Containing Devices
United States Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/504,109

NREL researchers have developed a novel perovskite device architecture in which a bilayer of carbon nanotubes is used as a hole-transport layer. A first carbon nanotube layer provides an energetically favorable contact interface with the perovskite absorber layer, whereas the second carbon nanotube layer is optimized for transport of holes out of the perovskite device. This bilayer improves stability of the absorber layer and enables perovskite device architectures desiring a transparent hole-selective contact (e.g., for building-integrated photovoltaic window applications). Additional information on this technology can be found on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Buffer Layer for Enhanced Performance of Perovskite Solar Cells
PCT Application No. PCT/US16/64156

NREL researchers have developed a novel process of inserting an ultrathin (5 nm) layer of purely semiconducting single-wall carbon nanotubes (s-SWCNTs) between the perovskite and spiro-MeOTAD-based hole-transport layer. This process, in addition to being compatible with future low-cost manufacturing processes, increases both the short-circuit current density and fill factor of perovskite devices and improves the power conversion efficiency of methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) perovskites by about 2% when compared to a perovskite without an s-SWCNT buffer layer. Additional information on this technology can be found on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Methods for Making Perovskite Solar Cells Having Improved Hole-Transport Layers
United States Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/356,328

NREL researchers have developed a method to enhance the conductivity of spiro-OMeTAD in perovskite solar cells that uses acidic additives with Li-TFSI and/or Co(III) salts for hole-transport layers. This novel method of doping spiro-OMeTAD with acidic additives produces high-efficiency, hysteresis-less planar perovskite solar cells with a 2% increased conversion efficiency over perovskites without a modified spiro-OMeTAD hole-selective layer. Additional information on this technology can be found on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Perovskite Device Architectures

Heterojunction Perovskite Photovoltaic Devices and Methods of Making the Same
PCT Application No. PCT/US16/55154

NREL researchers have developed a novel perovskite device architecture that incorporates interdigitated contact geometry comprising alternating lateral p-n junctions across the perovskite active layer. This architecture maximizes photocarrier collection and can be implemented through direct-write, high-throughput electronic printing, or through traditional photolithography processes. In addition, NREL researchers have used metal wires as the electrode and substrate for electron- or hole-transport layers to create threads that, when woven together, form flexible, defect-tolerant fabric with photovoltaic functionality. Additional information on this technology can be found on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Design and Fabrication of Thermochromic Energy-Harvesting Windows
PCT Application No. PCT/US16/54188 and United States Patent Application Serial No. 15/279,062

NREL researchers have combined the functionality of a thermochromic window with a photovoltaic cell to produce a "switchable" window that undergoes a reversible phase-change process when illuminated by sunlight. This device converts sunlight into electricity when in its light-absorbing, tinted state, and it is easily incorporated into existing window fabrications. Additional information on this technology can be found on the Energy Innovation Portal.

Contact

Bill Hadley | 303-275-3015