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Monday, 13 May 2019

Ferroelectric oxides in perovskite solar cells increase their stability

Researchers from the ICN2 Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy Group and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne have used a ferroelectric oxide (PbZrTiO3) as an electron extraction material for stable halide perovskite solar cells. This complex oxide, used for the first time with this purpose, not only avoids the inconveniences of classical oxides such as TiO2, but also enhances the carrier transfer. This advancement was highlighted in the cover of Sustainable Energy and Fuels.

One of the main challenges regarding perovskite solar cells (PSCs) has to do with their stability. Whereas efficiency of PSCs is already superior to silicon ones, their lifespan is much shorter. State-of-the-art halide PSCs employ semiconductor oxides (TiO2, SnO2) as electron transport materials. These oxides have defects that act as recombination centres degrading the main absorber of the solar cell, that is, perovskite.

However, if PbZrTiO3 (PZT) is used, causing a perovskite-perovskite union, its structural defects create dipoles that help transferring electrons to the main absorber of the solar cell, without any damage to the perovskite. This research, highlighted in the cover of Sustainable Energy and Fuels, is the product of a collaboration between the ICN2 Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy Group, led by Prof. Mónica Lira-Cantú, and the Groups led by Prof. Anders Hagfeldt and Prof. Michael Gratzel at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. The first author of the work is Dr Amador Pérez-Tomás, also from the ICN2 Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy Group.

As you can see in the plot, A PZT-based PSC put in air and under UV light is much more stable than a PSC with SO2. These results may have a major impact in a new generation of electron transport materials for PSCs that can affect the long-term stability of emerging photovoltaics and open new possibilities for a wide range of electronic and optoelectronic applications.


Article Reference:

Amador Pérez-Tomas, Haibing Xie, Zaiwei Wang, Hui-Seon Kim, Ian Shirley, Silver-Hamill Turren-Cruz, Anna Morales-Melgares, Benedicte Saliba, David Tanenbaum, Michael Saliba, Shaik Mohammed Zakeeruddin, Michael Gratzel, Anders Hagfeldt and Monica Lira-Cantu. PbZrTiO3 ferroelectric oxide as an electron extraction material for stable halide perovskite solar cells. Sustainable Energy & Fuels, 2019, 3, 382 – 389. DOI: 10.1039/c8se00451j

https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2019/se/c8se00451j#!divAbstract