Special Issue "Advances in Thin Film Solar Cells"

A special issue of Crystals (ISSN 2073-4352). This special issue belongs to the section "Crystalline Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Qi Hua Fan Website E-Mail
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Michigan State University, 1449 Engineering Research Ct, East Lansing, MI, USA
Interests: plasma; thin film; solar cell; chemical vapor deposition; coatings; sputtering; surface engineering
Guest Editor
Dr. Guofu Hou Website E-Mail
Nankai University, Institute of Photo-electronic Thin Film Devices and Technology, Tianjin, China
Interests: silicon thin film solar cell; silicon heterojunction solar cell; thin film coating; thin film characterization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to invite you to submit your work to this Special Issue on "Advances in Thin Film Solar Cells ". In the past several years, after a short standstill, great progresses have been made in thin film solar cells. Conversion efficiencies of 22.1%, 22.6% and 22.7% have been reported for CdTe, CuInGaSe2, and Perovskite thin film solar cells, respectively. These efficiencies are comparable to the record efficiency of 22.3% for multi-crystalline silicon solar cells. Atomically thin two-dimensional materials including graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides have attracted broad interest due to the possibility of creating a variety of novel device structures. These achievements originate from the fundamental understanding of thin film photovoltaic materials, optimal device structures, and advanced manufacturing techniques and processes.

This Special Issue aims to bring together and share the up-to-date views and opinions of the past and current developments in thin film photovoltaic materials and solar cells. Suitable topics include experimental and theoretical findings related to thin film photovoltaic materials, devices, and fabrication techniques. We hope you can join us in this Special Issue by contributing critical reviews and/or original research articles.

The proposed topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Thin film silicon solar cells
  • CdTe thin film solar cells
  • CuInGaSe2 thin film solar cells
  • Kesterites thin film solar cells
  • Perovskites thin film solar cells
  • Organic PV materials and devices
  • GaAS thin film solar cells
  • Quantum dot solar cells
  • Two-dimensional materials for PV applications
  • New device concepts and architectures for next generation of solar cells

Dr. Qi Hua Fan
Dr. Guofu Hou
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Crystals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
CuZnSn(SxSe1-x)4 Solar Cell Prepared by the Sol-Gel Method Following a Modified Three-Step Selenization Process
Crystals 2019, 9(9), 474; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst9090474 - 11 Sep 2019
Abstract
In current work, Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 thin films have been prepared by the sol-gel method based on dimethyl sulfoxide solution followed by a modified three-step selenization process. The key process of this method is to divide the Se evaporation and annealing into [...] Read more.
In current work, Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 thin films have been prepared by the sol-gel method based on dimethyl sulfoxide solution followed by a modified three-step selenization process. The key process of this method is to divide the Se evaporation and annealing into two different stages: employ a thermal cracking Se source in the Se evaporation stage and an above-atmospheric pressure in the annealing process. The morphological, structural, elemental distributional, and photovoltaic properties of Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 thin films prepared with the three-step selenization process were systematically investigated. It was found that through this modified selenization process, the formations of secondary phases (ZnSe, CuSnSe3) and a fine-grain bottom layer, which usually exists in the traditional one-step selenization process, were effectively suppressed. These improvements could further reduce the carrier recombination and improve the solar cell performance. The best solar cell is obtained with a short-circuit current density of 28.16 mA/cm2, open-circuit voltage of 404.91 mV, fill factor of 62.91%, and a power conversion efficiency of 7.17% under air mass 1.5 (100 mW/cm2) illumination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Thin Film Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle
Semiperiodic Ultra-Broadband Double-Grating to Improve c-Si Thin-Film Solar Cell’s Optical Absorption, through Numerical Structural Optimization
Crystals 2019, 9(5), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst9050264 - 21 May 2019
Abstract
Plasmonic gratings provide effective photon management techniques in thin-film solar cells, capable of extending the optical thickness of the solar cell’s active layer. However, the ultra-broadband nature of such application makes an optimal design of the grating structure quite challenging, since a fully [...] Read more.
Plasmonic gratings provide effective photon management techniques in thin-film solar cells, capable of extending the optical thickness of the solar cell’s active layer. However, the ultra-broadband nature of such application makes an optimal design of the grating structure quite challenging, since a fully periodic grating operates only in specific spectral ranges. To achieve a more broadband design, semiperiodicity is introduced, which, due to having controllable disorder, is an apt solution in broadband optical applications. In this work, semiperiodic double gratings as a broadband photon management technique are introduced in order to improve the optical absorption of c-Si thin-film solar cells, and optimized through numerical structural optimization. Physical parameters of both front and back gratings are determined taking the spectrally integrated optical absorption as the figure of merit and subsequently a semiperiodic double grating is established through adding defects to the fully periodic structure. It is shown that such semiperiodic structure is capable of enhancing the spectrally integrated optical absorption 88.6 % compared to a reference structure without gratings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Thin Film Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Delay Time before Annealing MAI-PbI2-DMSO Intermediate Phase on Perovskite Film Quality and Photo-Physical Properties
Crystals 2019, 9(3), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst9030151 - 14 Mar 2019
Abstract
High-performance perovskite solar cells are strongly dependent on the quality of the perovskite layer. Two-step sequential deposition of CH3NH3PbI3 (MAPbI3) films is widely used to fabricate perovskite solar cells and many factors influence the quality of [...] Read more.
High-performance perovskite solar cells are strongly dependent on the quality of the perovskite layer. Two-step sequential deposition of CH3NH3PbI3 (MAPbI3) films is widely used to fabricate perovskite solar cells and many factors influence the quality of perovskite films, such as the delay time before annealing the MAI-PbI2-DMSO intermediate phase, which would impact the morphology and photo-physical properties of perovskite thin films. Here, the experimental research indicates that the impact of the delay time before annealing the MAI-PbI2-DMSO intermediate phase on the quality, crystallinity, and photo-physical properties of perovskite film is crucial. During the delay process, the delay time before annealing the MAI-PbI2-DMSO intermediate phase plays an important role in the nucleation process of perovskite grains inside the intermediate phase. With the extension of the delay time before annealing, the quality of the perovskite film deteriorates, thus the photo-physical properties change. We found that after the localized liquid–liquid diffusion of MAI and PbI2, with the extension of the delay time before annealing the MAI-PbI2-DMSO intermediate phase, the nucleation number of the perovskite grains increases and the grain size becomes smaller. Therefore, with the extension of the delay time before annealing, the device performance deteriorates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Thin Film Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle
A Water-Stable Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Perovskite for Solar Cells by Inorganic Passivation
Crystals 2019, 9(2), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst9020083 - 04 Feb 2019
Abstract
Organic-inorganic hybrid halide perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have been a trending topic in recent years. Significant progress has been made to increase their power conversion efficiency (PCE) to more than 20%. However, the poor stability of PSCs in both working and non-working conditions [...] Read more.
Organic-inorganic hybrid halide perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have been a trending topic in recent years. Significant progress has been made to increase their power conversion efficiency (PCE) to more than 20%. However, the poor stability of PSCs in both working and non-working conditions results in rapid degradation through multiple environmental erosions such as water, heat, and UV light. Attempts have been made to resolve the rapid-degradation problems, including formula changes, transport layer improvements, and encapsulations, but none of these have effectively resolved the dilemma. This paper reports our findings on adding inorganic films as surface-passivation layers on top of the hybrid perovskite materials, which not only enhance stability by eliminating weak sites but also prevent water penetration by using a water-stable layer. The surface-passivated hybrid perovskite layer indicates a slight increase of bandgap energy (Eg = 1.76 eV), compared to the original methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3, Eg = 1.61 eV) layer, allowing for more stable perovskite layer with a small sacrifice in the photoluminescence property, which represents a lower charge diffusion rate and higher bandgap energy. Our finding offers an alternative approach to resolving the low stability issue for PSC fabrication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Thin Film Solar Cells)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Recent Advances in and New Perspectives on Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells with Carrier-Selective Passivation Contacts
Crystals 2018, 8(11), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst8110430 - 15 Nov 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Crystalline silicon (c-Si) is the dominating photovoltaic technology today, with a global market share of about 90%. Therefore, it is crucial for further improving the performance of c-Si solar cells and reducing their cost. Since 2014, continuous breakthroughs have been achieved in the [...] Read more.
Crystalline silicon (c-Si) is the dominating photovoltaic technology today, with a global market share of about 90%. Therefore, it is crucial for further improving the performance of c-Si solar cells and reducing their cost. Since 2014, continuous breakthroughs have been achieved in the conversion efficiencies of c-Si solar cells, with a current record of 26.6%. The great efficiency boosts originate not only from the materials, including Si wafers, emitters, passivation layers, and other functional thin films, but also from novel device structures and an understanding of the physics of solar cells. Among these achievements, the carrier-selective passivation contacts are undoubtedly crucial. Current carrier-selective passivation contacts can be realized either by silicon-based thin films or by elemental and/or compound thin films with extreme work functions. The current research and development status, as well as the future trends of these passivation contact materials, structures, and corresponding high-efficiency c-Si solar cells will be summarized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Thin Film Solar Cells)
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