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Heterojunction Perovskite Photovoltaic Devices and Methods of Making the Same

Stage: Development

Perovskite photovoltaics are a new class of light absorbers with exceptional and unparalleled progress in solar power performance. A perovskite is any material with a specific ABX3 crystal structure. In photovoltaic applications, the A cation can be either organic, inorganic, or hybrid in composition. The B component is typically a metal cation such as lead, and X is a halide such as iodine or bromine. Work on solar cells using perovskite materials has advanced rapidly as a result of the material’s excellent light absorption, charge-carrier mobilities, and lifetimes – resulting in high device efficiencies with low-cost, industry-scalable technology. While the potential for perovskite photovoltaic devices is high, commercialization will require overcoming other challenges relating to material stability, efficiency, and environmental compatibility.

NREL researchers have developed novel perovskite device architecture that incorporates interdigitated contact geometry comprising of alternating lateral p-n junctions across the perovskite active layer. This architecture uses the interdigitated electrode as the back contact to drive photogenerated carriers to the n- or p-type contact layers and can be constructed with either top-down or bottom-up configurations (i.e. glass/perovskite active layer/contact or glass/contact/perovskite active layer). Furthermore, this architecture maximizes photo-carrier 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 PV functionality.

This technology is within the Film Efficiency and Device Architecture categories of NREL’s perovskite portfolio. For further information regarding NREL's broader perovskite portfolio, please visit NREL's Perovskite Patent Portfolio website.

The Film Efficiency category consists of film deposition methods, chemistry improvements, and engineering of device layer and architecture that push commercial perovskite device efficiencies to 20% and beyond.

The Device Architecture category comprises new perovskite solar cell device layouts, such as interdigitated back-contact perovskite solar cell devices, that capitalize on the unique properties of the perovskite layer to create low-cost devices with improved efficiency and reliability.

Contact Bill Hadley at Bill.Hadley@nrel.gov

ROI 15-60

Applications and Industries

  • Perovskites
  • Photovoltaics


  • Defect Tolerant
  • Maximizes photo-carrier collection
  • Can be constructed in either top-down or bottom-up configurations