In order to reduce the formation of pinholes and cracks, we improved the the process for making perovskite solar cells.

The challenge

Scaling up to large scale production

Photovoltaic (PV) cells are becoming increasingly important in the world's renewable energy mix.

Machine printing perovskite solar cells

Printing perovskite solar cells.

Around 15 per cent of the PV cell market is based on thin-film PV cells. These are cheaper and have a shorter energy payback time than crystalline silicon PV cells which represent the other 85 per cent of the PV cell market.

A rapidly developing competitor to thin-film PV cells is a technology based on organic-inorganic perovskite-structured semi-conductors.

However, there have been challenges to scaling up production of perovskite solar cells. Due to the spin coating method used, pinholes or cracks tend to form when produced at a large scale.

Our response

Modifying the process

We discovered that problematic rapid crystallisation in the coating process can be regulated by adding certain polymer additives into the coating solution. Ideally, with a non-electroactive or insulating polymer.

We discovered that suitable techniques for producing the final multi-layer thin-film, flexible solar cells include:

  • spray coating
  • screen printing
  • casting.

This overcomes some of the technical challenges, allowing perovskite solar cells to produced at a commercial scale.

The results

A new technique

This work has overcome a major barrier in the development of perovskite solar cells, resulting in a method that creates a high quality, crack-free product.

Producing perovskite solar cells could now be a viable alternative to PV solar cells.

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