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Electronic and Photonic Molecular Materials Group

department of physics and astronomy

Perovskite and Organic photovoltaics

Third generation thin-film photovoltaics (PV) are of significant interest for low-cost generation of solar electricity, as they potentially combine reduced embodied energy, with ease of manufacture using solution-based techniques. At Sheffield, we have a detailed research programme into the development of photovoltaics based on two main types of semiconducting materials:

  1. organo-metal halide perovkites and
  2. polymer:fullerene / non-fullerene blends.

In both cases, such materials can be coated onto a surface using solution-based techniques (including spray-coating), and then fabricated into a PV device. We are currently exploring a range of different new perovskite and organic semiconductor materials, with our objective being to optimise device efficiency, maximise device stability and to develop techniques appropriate for device scale-up and manufacture. In our research, we use a range of spectroscopic techniques to understand the electronic properties of the materials we develop, together with other structural probes (including X-ray scattering) to understand thin-film morphology over a range of length-scales. We also have an outdoors testing facility at the Sheffield Solar Farm. This acts as a long-term testing environment for photovoltaic devices made in the laboratory.

 

Selected publications

Artwork on the cover of the journal ChemSusChem depicting the future of perovskite photovoltaic production.

Perovskites on Ice: An Additive-Free Approach to Increase the Shelf-Life of Triple-Cation Perovskite Precursor Solutions
M. E. O’Kane*, J. A. Smith, T. I. Alanazi, E. J. Cassella, Dr. O. Game, Dr. S. van Meurs, Prof. D. G. Lidzey*
ChemSusChem

Work described in this paper demonstrates that the shelf-life of high-performing perovskite precursors can be greatly improved by storing solutions at low-temperature without the need to alter chemical composition. The Front Cover of ChemSusChem (shown above) shows a futuristic view of large-scale perovskite solar cell (PSC) manufacture. This includes a high-volume roll-to-roll printing facility and cold-storage of PSC precursor solutions in large industrial fridges.

Artwork on the cover of the journal aamick depicting the future of spray painted photovoltaics.

Development of Spray-Coated Perovskite Solar Cells
James E. Bishop, Joel A. Smith, and David G. Lidzey*
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2020, 12, 43, 48237–48245
DOI 10.1021/acsami.0c14540

A look toward the future of spray-coating perovskite photovoltaics. Our spotlight on applications discusses developments made over the last six years that have enabled the fabrication of increasingly high-performance spray-coated perovskite solar cells. In particular, the various approaches adopted to spray-cast perovskite films (one-step vs two-step processes) ware charted and the development of sophisticated techniques used to control thin-film crystallinity is described. Finally, remaining research challenges are discussed that–once solved–may allow the mass deployment of low-cost solar energy.

 

A flexible back-contact perovskite solar micro-module.

A flexible back-contact perovskite solar micro-module
Michael Wong-Stringer, Thomas J. Routledge, Trevor McArdle, Christopher J. Wood, Onkar S. Game, Joel A. Smith, James E. Bishop, Naoum Vaenas, David M. Coles, Alastair R. Buckley and David G. Lidzey
Energy & Environmental Science, 2019, 6.
DOI: 10.1039/c8ee03517b

In conjunction with Power Roll Ltd, EPMM have developed flexible, back-contact perovskite-based photovoltaic devices utilising a new, patented V-groove architecture. These devices are in principle easy to manufacture and do not include any rare-earth metals.

Advances in Spray-Cast Perovskite Solar Cells.

Advances in Spray-Cast Perovskite Solar Cells
James E. Bishop, Thomas J. Routledge, and David G. Lidzey
J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 2018, 9, pp 1977–1984

This Perspective summarizes the developments in spray-cast perovskite solar cells made over the past few years, with particular attention paid to strategies employed to control the crystallization of the perovskite. Steady progress has now been made with spray-cast perovskite PV devices recently demonstrated having a power conversion efficiency of 18.3%. We highlight trends within the research field and discuss challenges that will be necessary to drive such techniques toward practical application.

 

Light-Soaking-Free Inverted Polymer Solar Cells with an Efficiency of 10.5% by Compositional and Surface Modifications to a Low-Temperature-Processed TiO2 Electron-Transport Layer.
Light-Soaking-Free Inverted Polymer Solar Cells with an Efficiency of 10.5% by Compositional and Surface Modifications to a Low-Temperature-Processed TiO2 Electron-Transport Layer
Yu Yan, Feilong Cai, Liyan Yang, Jinghai Li, Yiwei Zhang, Fei Qin, Chuanxi Xiong, Yinhua Zhou, David G. Lidzey, Tao Wang
Advanced Materials, Volume 29, January 4 2017, 1604044
AFM cover: Mapping Morphological and Structural Properties of Lead Halide Perovskites.
Open Article: Mapping Morphological and Structural Properties of Lead Halide Perovskites by Scanning Nanofocus XRD
Samuele Lilliu, Thomas G. Dane, Mejd Alsari, Jonathan Griffin, Alexander T. Barrows, Marcus S. Dahlem, Richard H. Friend, David G. Lidzey, and J. E. Macdonald
Advanced Functional Materials, Volume 26, Issue 45, page 8221-8230, 12 October 2016

 

PCDTBT based solar cells: one year of operation under real-world conditions.
Open Article: PCDTBT based solar cells: one year of operation under real-world conditions
Yiwei Zhang, Edward Bovill, James Kingsley, Alastair R. Buckley, HunanYi, Ahmed Iraqi, Tao Wang & David G. Lidzey
Nature Scientific Reports, February 2016
High efficiency arrays of polymer solar cells fabricated by spray-coating in air.
High efficiency arrays of polymer solar cells fabricated by spray-coating in air
Yiwei Zhang, Jonathan Griffin, Nicholas W. Scarratt, Tao Wang and David G. Lidzey.
Prog. Photovolt: Res. Appl. (2015) DOI: 10.1002/pip.2665.

 

Perovskite crystal structure.
The role of the hole-extraction layer in determining the operational stability of a polycarbazole:fullerene bulk-heterojunction photovoltaic device
E. Bovill, N. Scarratt, J. Griffin, H. Yi, A. Iraqi, A. R. Buckley, J. W. Kingsley, and D. G. Lidzey
Applied Physics Letters 106, 073301 (2015); doi: 10.1063/1.4909530
Perovskite crystal structure.
Efficient planar heterojunction mixed-halide perovskite solar cells deposited via spray-deposition
Alexander T. Barrows, Andrew J. Pearson, Chan Kyu Kwak, Alan D. F. Dunbar, Alastair R. Buckley and David G. Lidzey
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Volume 7, pages 2944-2950 (PDF compressed from original, 346kB)

 

Cover article: Polymer Solar Cells: Fabricating High Performance, Donor–Acceptor Copolymer Solar Cells by Spray-Coating in Air.
Cover Article: Polymer Solar Cells: Fabricating High Performance, Donor–Acceptor Copolymer Solar Cells by Spray-Coating in Air
Tao Wang, Nicholas W. Scarratt, Hunan Yi, Alan D. F. Dunbar, Andrew J. Pearson, Darren C. Watters, Tom S. Glen, Andrew C. Brook, James Kingsley, Alastair R. Buckley, Maximilian W. A. Skoda, Athene M. Donald, Richard A. L. Jones, Ahmed Iraqi and David G. Lidzey
Advanced Energy Materials, Volume 3, Issue 4, page 410, April 2013
Cover article: Correlating Structure with Function in Thermally Annealed PCDTBT:PC70BM Photovoltaic Blends.
Cover Article: Correlating Structure with Function in Thermally Annealed PCDTBT:PC70BM Photovoltaic Blends
Tao Wang, Andrew J. Pearson, Alan D. F. Dunbar, Paul A. Staniec, Darren C. Watters, Hunan Yi, Anthony J. Ryan, Richard A. L. Jones, Ahmed Iraqi and David G. Lidzey,
Advanced Functional Materials, Volume 22, Issue 7, pages 1399–1408, April 10, 2012

 

Links

Power Roll Ltd offers innovative energy storage and energy generation technologies.

Ossila - enabling innovative electronics (spin out company from the EPMM group)

Ahmed Iraqi's research group

The Polymer Centre

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