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Self-Seeding Growth for Perovskite Solar Cells with Enhanced Stability

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.


Researchers at NREL have developed a new approach for solution deposition of hybrid organic-inorganic lead halide perovskite films that greatly improve the performance and stability of photovoltaic devices. The process, called self-seeding growth (SSG), involves the multi-step application of a formamidinium methylammonium cesium (FA/MA/Cs) perovskite precursor solution that, until now, has typically been applied in only one step. Instead of an annealing step, consecutive applications of perovskite precursor inks to a substrate with intermediate antisolvent treatments, demonstrate a “seeding” effect where previous application steps help produce a subsequent perovskite film with far fewer defects and significantly improved grain morphology. In this process, the consecutive SSG application may be repeated one to four times before finally annealing the perovskite layer under high heat. The resulting thin film layer yields improved structural and optoelectronic properties and consistently boosts power conversion efficiency into the 20 percent range.

When compared to standard one-step solution-deposited devices, SSG devices exhibit reduced defect densities, improved charge-carrier transport and lifetime, fewer apparent grain boundaries, and enhanced properties of hydrophobicity for sustained retention of power conversion efficiency within humid ambient conditions. Furthermore, the SSG process is not limited to only the FA/MA/Cs chemical composition detailed above, but can also be applied with different substrates, solvents, and perovskite compositions, thus making it a tremendous new method for preparing stable, high-quality perovskite thin films for photovoltaic device applications.

This technology is within the Unique Perovskite Deposition Processes and Perovskite Film Stability groups of NREL’s perovskite portfolio. For further information regarding NREL's broader perovskite portfolio, please visit NREL's Perovskite Patent Portfolio website here.

Or please contact Bill Hadley at: Bill.Hadley@nrel.gov

ROI 19-29

Applications and Industries

  • Perovskites
  • Photovoltaics

Benefits

  • Improved perovskite structure stability.
  • Enhanced hydrophobicity in device structure design.
  • Increased durability over devices that employ one-step precursor applications.