Special Issue "Materials for Photovoltaic Applications"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Materials".

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

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Gregory J. Wilson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Principal Research Scientist | Next Generation Photovoltaics, Research Group Leader | Solar Energy Technologies, CSIRO Energy, Newcastle, Australia
Interests: photovoltaics; photochemistry; physical chemistry; surface science; quantum chemistry; organic/inorganic metal-complex; nanostructured materials; thin-films; coatings and semiconductors

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Energy from the sun is almost limitless with the intensification of renewable energy technologies deployed worldwide, led by photovoltaics (PV), with a global capacity averaging 42% of annual growth over five years (2011–2016) with an easing in deployment into 2017. Global investment for research and development (R&D) in PV was US$4.7 billion in 2017 with a great deal of interest in the development of new materials, device architectures and applications for more effectively harvesting energy from the sun. This Special Issue of Materials will be a detailed overview of recent research and development in the field of photovoltaics and solar cells

In the field of photovoltaics there is a great deal of effort in improving materials and interfaces as applied to the varied semi-conductor systems from mainstream silicon, germanium and compound semiconductors through to emerging semiconductor materials, such as perovskite organic–inorganic structures, organic photovoltaics and photoelectrochemical devices. Underpinning many of these are materials properties that effect ionic accumulation, charge extraction at interfaces induced ion migration under an electrical field coupled, charge trapping/de-trapping and artefacts, such as hysteresis, which influences the criticality of our measurements and characterisation techniques. Experimental approaches for the development of these materials span metallurgical recrystallisation, physical vapour deposition (PVD), chemical vapour deposition (CVD) electrodeposition, sputtering and low-temperature solution-processed methods across the broad photovoltaics field, including materials and technologies covering:

  • Novel materials and device architectures
  • Fundamental studies on organic layers and applications to multi-junction cells
  • Advances in single and multicrystalline silicon solar cells, thin film silicon cells and amorphous silicon
  • Technology advances in quantum dots, dye-sensitised solar cells and organic photovoltaics
  • Perovskite semiconductors, solar cells and materials
  • Compound semiconductor cells (CIS, CIGS, CdTe)
  • Group III–V semiconductors solar cells
  • Application and advances in materials for photovoltaic including transparent conductive oxide (TCO), anti-reflective coating (ARC), graphene and graphite composites, plasmonics and novel light trapping, hot-carrier effects and up/down conversion.

It is my pleasure to invite you to submit a manuscript for this Special Issue. Full papers, communications, and reviews related to materials for photovoltaic applications are all welcome.

Dr. Gregory J. Wilson
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • nanostructured materials
  • solar cells
  • energy
  • silicon
  • metal oxides
  • Group III–V semiconductors
  • chalcogenides
  • organic semiconductors
  • polymer solar cells
  • perovskite semiconductors
  • organic photovoltaics
  • dye-sensitised
  • simulation and modelling
  • density-functional theory (DFT)

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Nitrogen-Doped Cu2O Thin Films for Photovoltaic Applications
Materials 2019, 12(18), 3038; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12183038 - 19 Sep 2019
Abstract
Cuprous oxide (Cu2O) is a p-type semiconductor with high optical absorption and a direct bandgap of about 2.1 eV, making it an attractive material for photovoltaic applications. For a high-performance photovoltaic device, the formation of low-resistivity contacts on Cu2O [...] Read more.
Cuprous oxide (Cu2O) is a p-type semiconductor with high optical absorption and a direct bandgap of about 2.1 eV, making it an attractive material for photovoltaic applications. For a high-performance photovoltaic device, the formation of low-resistivity contacts on Cu2O thin films is a prerequisite, which can be achieved by, for instance, nitrogen doping of Cu2O in order to increase the carrier concentration. In this work, nitrogen-doped p-type Cu2O thin films were prepared on quartz substrates by magnetron sputter deposition. By adding N2 gas during the deposition process, a nitrogen concentration of up to 2.3 × 1021 atoms/cm3 in the Cu2O thin films was achieved, as determined from secondary ion mass spectroscopy measurements. The effect of nitrogen doping on the structural, optical, and electrical properties of the Cu2O thin films was investigated. X-ray diffraction measurements suggest a preservation of the Cu2O phase for the nitrogen doped thin films, whereas spectrophotometric measurements show that the optical properties were not significantly altered by incorporation of nitrogen into the Cu2O matrix. A significant conductivity enhancement was achieved for the nitrogen-doped Cu2O thin films, based on Hall effect measurements, i.e., the hole concentration was increased from 4 × 1015 to 3 × 1019 cm−3 and the resistivity was reduced from 190 to 1.9 Ω⋅cm by adding nitrogen to the Cu2O thin films. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of Photovoltaic Module with Fabricated and Evaluated Novel Backsheet-Based Biocomposite Materials
Materials 2019, 12(18), 3007; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12183007 - 17 Sep 2019
Abstract
Photovoltaic backsheets have considerable impact on the collective performance of solar cells. Material components should withstand certain temperatures and loads while maintaining high thermal stability under various weather conditions. Solar modules must demonstrate increased reliability, adequate performance, safety, and durability throughout the course [...] Read more.
Photovoltaic backsheets have considerable impact on the collective performance of solar cells. Material components should withstand certain temperatures and loads while maintaining high thermal stability under various weather conditions. Solar modules must demonstrate increased reliability, adequate performance, safety, and durability throughout the course of their lifetime. This work presents a novel solar module. The module consists of an innovative polyvinylidene fluoride-short sugar palm fiber (PVDF-SSPF) composite backsheet within its structure. It was electrically and thermally evaluated. The current-voltage characteristics (I-V) were obtained using the solar module analyzer, PROVA 210PV. A thermal evaluation was accomplished using a temperature device, SDL200. The thermal test consisted of two different assessments. The first targeted the surface and backsheet of the developed module to correlate their performance from within. The second assessment compared the thermal performance of the fabricated backsheet with the conventional one. Both tests were combined into a heatmap analysis to further understand the thermal performance. Results revealed that the developed module exhibited reasonable electrical efficiency, achieving appropriate and balanced I-V curves. PVDF-SSPF backsheets proved to be thermally stable by displaying less heat absorbance and better temperature shifts. Additional research efforts are highly encouraged to investigate other characteristics. To enhance performance, further analyses are needed such as the damp heat analysis, accelerated aging analysis, and heat dissipation phenomena. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Caffeine Copigmentation of Anthocyanin Dyes on DSSC Efficiency
Materials 2019, 12(17), 2692; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12172692 - 22 Aug 2019
Abstract
Caffeine is known to influence the absorbance spectrum of anthocyanin dyes. Such dyes are often used as sensitizers in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Natural dyes, like anthocyanins, yield only small DSSC efficiencies, but are of high interest since they are usually non-toxic and [...] Read more.
Caffeine is known to influence the absorbance spectrum of anthocyanin dyes. Such dyes are often used as sensitizers in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Natural dyes, like anthocyanins, yield only small DSSC efficiencies, but are of high interest since they are usually non-toxic and inexpensive. Here we report on the influence of copigmentation of anthocyanins, taken from commercially available tea, with caffeine. In this way, the efficiencies were increased for measurements with a solar simulator as well as with ambient light. In addition, the well-known pH dependence of the efficiency of DSSCs dyed with anthocyanins was shifted—while a pH value of 1–2 was ideal for pure anthocyanins used as dyes, a higher pH value of 2–3 was sufficient to reach the maximum efficiencies for caffeine-copigmented dyes. This means that instead of reducing the pH value by adding an acid, adding caffeine can also be used to increase the efficiency of DSSCs prepared with anthocyanins. Finally, a comparison of several literature sources dealing with anthocyanin-based DSSCs allows for evaluation of our results with respect to the work of other groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Lightweight and Durable PVDF–SSPF Composites for Photovoltaics Backsheet Applications: Thermal, Optical and Technical Properties
Materials 2019, 12(13), 2104; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12132104 - 29 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Photovoltaic module backsheets are characterized according to their thermal, optical, mechanical, and technical properties. This work introduces new fabricated backsheets for PV modules using polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) reinforced with short sugar palm fiber (SSPF) composites. The preparation of composites undergoes multiple phases of [...] Read more.
Photovoltaic module backsheets are characterized according to their thermal, optical, mechanical, and technical properties. This work introduces new fabricated backsheets for PV modules using polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) reinforced with short sugar palm fiber (SSPF) composites. The preparation of composites undergoes multiple phases of fabrication. Thermal, optical, and technical investigations of their properties were conducted. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Raman spectroscopy, in-situ scanning probe microscopy (SPM), dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), thermal mechanical analysis (TMA), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and prolonged technical testing were accomplished to expansively understand the complex behavior of composites under various conditions. The optical properties of PV backsheets are critical components in determining the reflectance, absorbance, and transmittance of light. The PVDF–SSPF composites exhibited exceptional compatibility and thermal stability, further revealing a homogenous composite structure with enhanced interfacial bonding between the short fiber and polymer matrix. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Reflection Losses Analysis from Interspacing between the Cells in a Photovoltaic Module Using Novel Encapsulant Materials and Backsheets
Materials 2019, 12(13), 2067; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12132067 - 27 Jun 2019
Abstract
Higher efficiency and output power of a photovoltaic (PV) module can be achieved by minimizing cell-to-module (CTM) power losses. CTM losses are mainly dependent on electrical and optical losses. In this work, reflection losses from interspacing of cells with respect to different encapsulant [...] Read more.
Higher efficiency and output power of a photovoltaic (PV) module can be achieved by minimizing cell-to-module (CTM) power losses. CTM losses are mainly dependent on electrical and optical losses. In this work, reflection losses from interspacing of cells with respect to different encapsulant materials and backsheets are evaluated. Two novel encapsulant materials thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) and polybutadiene ionomer are used, in addition to conventionally used ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA). Moreover, the effect of using these encapsulant materials separately with Tedlar and Aluminum foil as backsheets is realized. It has been observed that TPO in combination with Tedlar presents minimum reflection losses compared to other encapsulant materials. The reflection losses calculated experimentally with polybutadiene ionomer were 5.4% less than the conventionally used EVA, whereas, the reflection losses calculated experimentally with TPO were 5.9% less than the conventionally used EVA. The experimental results obtained are also validated through simulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Powder Pressed Cuprous Iodide (CuI) as A Hole Transporting Material for Perovskite Solar Cells
Materials 2019, 12(13), 2037; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12132037 - 26 Jun 2019
Abstract
This study focuses on employing cuprous iodide (CuI) as a hole-transporting material (HTM) in fabricating highly efficient perovskite solar cells (PSCs). The PSCs were made in air with either CuI or 2,2′,7,7′-Tetrakis[N,N-di(4-methoxyphenyl)amino]-9,9′-spirobifluorene (spiro-OMeTAD) as HTMs. A simple and novel pressing method was employed [...] Read more.
This study focuses on employing cuprous iodide (CuI) as a hole-transporting material (HTM) in fabricating highly efficient perovskite solar cells (PSCs). The PSCs were made in air with either CuI or 2,2′,7,7′-Tetrakis[N,N-di(4-methoxyphenyl)amino]-9,9′-spirobifluorene (spiro-OMeTAD) as HTMs. A simple and novel pressing method was employed for incorporating CuI powder layer between perovskite layer and Pt top-contact to fabricate devices with CuI, while spiro-OMeTAD was spin-coated between perovskite layer and thermally evaporated Au top-contact to fabricate devices with spiro-OMeTAD. Under illuminations of 100 mW/cm2 with an air mass (AM) 1.5 filter in air, the average short-circuit current density (JSC) of the CuI devices was over 24 mA/cm2, which is marginally higher than that of spiro-OMeTAD devices. Higher JSC of the CuI devices can be attributed to high hole-mobility of CuI that minimizes the electron-hole recombination. However, the average power conversion efficiency (PCE) of the CuI devices were lower than that of spiro-OMeTAD devices due to slightly lower open-circuit voltage (VOC) and fill factor (FF). This is probably due to surface roughness of CuI powder. However, optimized devices with solvent-free powder pressed CuI as HTM show a promising efficiency of over 8.0 % under illuminations of 1 sun (100 mW/cm2) with an air mass 1.5 filter in air, which is the highest among the reported efficiency values for PSCs fabricated in an open environment with CuI as HTM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Metal-Free Organic Chromophores Featuring an Ethynyl-Thienothiophene Linker with an n-Hexyl Chain for Translucent Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Materials 2019, 12(11), 1741; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12111741 - 29 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
We report the simple synthesis of two organic chromophores featuring an ethynyl-thienothiophene linker with an n-hexyl chain (CSD-03 and CSD-04), their optical and electrochemical properties, and their use as photosensitizers in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Our theoretical and experimental studies show [...] Read more.
We report the simple synthesis of two organic chromophores featuring an ethynyl-thienothiophene linker with an n-hexyl chain (CSD-03 and CSD-04), their optical and electrochemical properties, and their use as photosensitizers in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Our theoretical and experimental studies show that adding the second thienothiophene allows for narrowing the bandgap of the molecule and thus ensuring more light harvesting in the visible region. The efficiencies of both CSD-03 (5.46 ± 0.03%) and CSD-04 (5.20 ± 0.03%) are comparable to that of N719 (5.92 ± 0.01%) in translucent DSSCs fabricated with 5 μm-thick TiO2 photoanodes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
n-i-p Nanocrystalline Hydrogenated Silicon Solar Cells with RF-Magnetron Sputtered Absorbers
Materials 2019, 12(10), 1699; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12101699 - 25 May 2019
Abstract
Nanocrystalline hydrogenated silicon (nc-Si:H) substrate configuration n-i-p solar cells have been fabricated on soda lime glass substrates with active absorber layers prepared by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) and radio frequency magnetron sputtering. The cells with nanocrystalline PECVD absorbers and an untextured [...] Read more.
Nanocrystalline hydrogenated silicon (nc-Si:H) substrate configuration n-i-p solar cells have been fabricated on soda lime glass substrates with active absorber layers prepared by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) and radio frequency magnetron sputtering. The cells with nanocrystalline PECVD absorbers and an untextured back reflector serve as a baseline for comparison and have power conversion efficiency near 6%. By comparison, cells with sputtered absorbers achieved efficiencies of about 1%. Simulations of external quantum efficiency (EQE) are compared to experimental EQE to determine a carrier collection probability gradient with depth for the device with the sputtered i-layer absorber. This incomplete collection of carriers generated in the absorber is most pronounced in material near the n/i interface and is attributed to breaking vacuum between deposition of layers for the sputtered absorbers, possible low electronic quality of the nc-Si:H sputtered absorber, and damage at the n/i interface by over-deposition of the sputtered i-layer during device fabrication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Electrical Traps on the Current Density Degradation of Inverted Perovskite Solar Cells
Materials 2019, 12(10), 1644; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12101644 - 20 May 2019
Abstract
Premature aging of perovskite solar cells (PSC) is one of the biggest challenges for its commercialization. Particularly, PSCs exhibit rapid degradation of photovoltaic parameters under ambient air exposure. To estimate the degradation mechanism of PSC under air exposure, we systematically analyzed the relationship [...] Read more.
Premature aging of perovskite solar cells (PSC) is one of the biggest challenges for its commercialization. Particularly, PSCs exhibit rapid degradation of photovoltaic parameters under ambient air exposure. To estimate the degradation mechanism of PSC under air exposure, we systematically analyzed the relationship between electrical traps of the PSC and its degradation. After 240 h of air exposure to the PSC, its power conversion efficiency degraded to 80% compared to its initial value. The loss mainly originated from reduced current density, which is affected by traps and carrier transport in the disordered semiconducting layer. Capacitance–voltage plots of the PSC showed that the ionic doping from the perovskite layer caused an increased number of trap sites at the buffer layer. Moreover, the extrapolation of temperature dependent open circuit voltage graphs indicated that the trap sites lead to poor carrier transport by increasing recombination losses in the aged device. Therefore, trap sites arose from the result of ion migration and caused an early degradation of PSC under air exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Enhancing Photovoltaic Performance of Plasmonic Silicon Solar Cells with ITO Nanoparticles Dispersed in SiO2 Anti-Reflective Layer
Materials 2019, 12(10), 1614; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12101614 - 16 May 2019
Abstract
In this study, we sought to enhance the photovoltaic performance of silicon solar cells by coating them (via the spin-on film technique) with a layer of SiO2 containing plasmonic indium-tin-oxide nanoparticles (ITO-NPs) of various concentrations. We demonstrated that the surface plasmon resonance [...] Read more.
In this study, we sought to enhance the photovoltaic performance of silicon solar cells by coating them (via the spin-on film technique) with a layer of SiO2 containing plasmonic indium-tin-oxide nanoparticles (ITO-NPs) of various concentrations. We demonstrated that the surface plasmon resonance absorption, surface morphology, and transmittance of the ITO-NPs dispersed in SiO2 layer at various concentrations (1–7 wt%). We also assessed the plasmonic scattering effects of ITO-NPs within a layer of SiO2 with and without a sub-layer of ITO in terms of optical reflectance, external quantum efficiency, and photovoltaic current-voltage under air mass (AM) 1.5G solar simulation. Compared to an uncoated reference silicon solar cell, applying a layer of SiO2 containing 3 wt% ITO-NPs improved efficiency by 17.90%, whereas applying the same layer over a sub-layer of ITO improved efficiency by 33.27%, due to the combined effects of anti-reflection and plasmonic scattering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Numerical Modeling of the Electronic and Electrical Characteristics of InGaN/GaN-MQW Solar Cells
Materials 2019, 12(8), 1241; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12081241 - 16 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this paper, a numerical model allows to analyze the photovoltaic parameters according to the electronic properties of InxGa1−xN/GaN MQW solar cells under the effect of temperature, the number of quantum wells and indium composition. The numerical investigation starts [...] Read more.
In this paper, a numerical model allows to analyze the photovoltaic parameters according to the electronic properties of InxGa1−xN/GaN MQW solar cells under the effect of temperature, the number of quantum wells and indium composition. The numerical investigation starts from the evaluation through the finite difference (FDM) simulation of the self-consistent method coupled with the photovoltaic parameters taking into account the effects of the spontaneous and piezoelectric polarization. The results found were consistent with the literature. As expected, the temperature had a negative impact on the performance of InGaN/GaN MQW solar cells. However, increasing the number of quantum wells improves cell performance. This positive impact further improves with the increase in the indium rate. The obtained results were 28 mA/cm2 for the short-circuit current density, 1.43 V for the open-circuit voltage, and the obtained conversion efficiency was 31% for a model structure based on 50-period InGaN/GaN-MQW-SC under 1-sun AM1.5G. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of PMMA on All-Inorganic Halide Perovskite CsPbBr3 Quantum Dots Combined with Polymer Matrix
Materials 2019, 12(6), 985; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12060985 - 25 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The poor stability of CsPbX3 quantum dots (QDs-CsPbX3) under wet conditions is still considered to be a key issue. In order to overcome this problem, this study presents a high molecular weight polymer matrix (polymethylmethacrylate, PMMA) incorporated into the QDs-CsPbBr [...] Read more.
The poor stability of CsPbX3 quantum dots (QDs-CsPbX3) under wet conditions is still considered to be a key issue. In order to overcome this problem, this study presents a high molecular weight polymer matrix (polymethylmethacrylate, PMMA) incorporated into the QDs-CsPbBr3 to improve its stability and maintain its excellent optical properties. In this study, the Cs2CO3, PbO, Tetrabutylammonium Bromide (TOAB) powder, oleic acid, and toluene solvent were uniformly mixed and purified to prepare high-quality QDs powders. Then, hexane was used as a dispersing agent for the QD powder to complete the perovskite QDs-CsPbBr3 solution. Finally, a solution with different proportions of quantum dots CsPbBr3 and PMMA was prepared and discussed. In the preparation of thin films, firstly, a thin film with the structure of glass/QD-CsPbBr3/PMMA was fabricated in a glove box using a well-developed QDs-CsPbBr3 solution by changing the ratio of CsPbBr3:PMMA. The material analysis of QDs-CsPbBr3 thin films was performed with photoluminescence (PL), transmittance, absorbance, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The structures and morphologies were further examined to study the effect of doped PMMA on perovskite QDs-CsPbBr3. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Coplanar Donor-π-Acceptor Dyes Featuring a Furylethynyl Spacer for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Materials 2019, 12(5), 839; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12050839 - 12 Mar 2019
Abstract
Coplanar metal-free organic dyes featuring a furylethynyl spacer with different donor residues (MeO-, MeS-, and Me2N-) have been synthesized. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations predicted that the Me2N- residue would facilitate more effective charge transfer from donor to acceptor [...] Read more.
Coplanar metal-free organic dyes featuring a furylethynyl spacer with different donor residues (MeO-, MeS-, and Me2N-) have been synthesized. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations predicted that the Me2N- residue would facilitate more effective charge transfer from donor to acceptor than the MeO- and MeS- residues. In agreement with DFT calculations, the dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) fabricated with the Me2N- functionalized dye exhibited the best power conversion efficiency (η), 2.88%. Furthermore, the effect of the furan spacer on the photophysical properties and DSSC parameters are discussed in comparison to a previously reported thiophene counterpart. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Facile Microemulsion Synthesis of Vanadium-Doped ZnO Nanoparticles to Analyze the Compositional, Optical, and Electronic Properties
Materials 2019, 12(5), 821; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12050821 - 11 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this work, microemulsion method has been followed to synthesize vanadium-doped Zn1−xVxO (with x = 0.0, 0.02, 0.04, 0.06, 0.08, and 0.10) nanoparticles. The prepared samples are characterized by several techniques to investigate the structural, morphology, electronic, functional bonding, [...] Read more.
In this work, microemulsion method has been followed to synthesize vanadium-doped Zn1−xVxO (with x = 0.0, 0.02, 0.04, 0.06, 0.08, and 0.10) nanoparticles. The prepared samples are characterized by several techniques to investigate the structural, morphology, electronic, functional bonding, and optical properties. X-ray diffractometer (XRD) analysis confirms the wurtzite phase of the undoped and V-doped ZnO nanoparticles. Variation in the lattice parameters ensures the incorporation of vanadium in the lattice of ZnO. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) shows that by increasing contents of V ions, the average particle size increases gradually. X-ray Absorption Near Edge Spectroscopy (XANES) at the V L3,2 edge, oxygen K-edge, and Zn L3,2 edge reveals the presence and effect of vanadium contents in the Zn host lattice. Furthermore, the existence of chemical bonding and functional groups are also asserted by attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR). UV–Visible analysis shows that by increasing V+ contents, a reduction up to 2.92 eV in the energy band gap is observed, which is probably due to an increase in the free electron concentration and change in the lattice parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Correlation of Different Electrical Parameters of Solar Cells with Silver Front Electrodes
Materials 2019, 12(3), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12030366 - 24 Jan 2019
Abstract
This work presents comparison results of the selected electrical parameters of silicon solar cells manufactured with silver front electrodes which were co-fired in an infrared belt furnace in the temperature range of 840–960 °C. The commercial paste (PV19B) was used for the metallization [...] Read more.
This work presents comparison results of the selected electrical parameters of silicon solar cells manufactured with silver front electrodes which were co-fired in an infrared belt furnace in the temperature range of 840–960 °C. The commercial paste (PV19B) was used for the metallization process. Electrical properties of a batch of solar cells fabricated in one cycle were investigated. Three methods were used, including measurement of the current-voltage characteristics (I-V), measurement of contacts’ resistivity using the transmission Line model method (TLM), and measurement of contacts’ resistivity using the potential difference method (PD). This work is focused on both the different metallization temperatures of co-firing of solar cells and measurements using the above-mentioned methods. It is shown that the solar cell parameters measured with three methods have different, but strongly correlated values. Moreover, the comparative analysis was performed of the investigations of the same photovoltaic solar cells using both the TLM method and independent research stands (including one non-commercial and two commercial ones) at three different scientific units. In the PD and TLM methods, the same calculation formulae are used. It can be stated, comparing methods I-V, PD, and TLM, that for each, different parameters are determined to assess the electrical properties of the solar cell. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Copper-Based Volumetric Filler Dedicated for Ag Paste for Depositing the Front Electrodes by Printing on Solar Si Cells
Materials 2018, 11(12), 2493; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11122493 - 07 Dec 2018
Abstract
In this work we present research results on a new paste NPCuXX (where: NP—new paste, CuXX—component, XX—a modifier consisting of Ni and other important elements) based on a copper composite (CuXX) for fabrication of front electrodes in silicon solar cells. The CuXX composite [...] Read more.
In this work we present research results on a new paste NPCuXX (where: NP—new paste, CuXX—component, XX—a modifier consisting of Ni and other important elements) based on a copper composite (CuXX) for fabrication of front electrodes in silicon solar cells. The CuXX composite is obtained by chemical processing of copper powder particles and can be used in two ways: as an additive to commercially available paste or as a base material for a new paste, NPCuXX. The CuXX offers the possibility to exchange up to 30 and 50 wt.% Ag into Cu, which significantly decreases the solar cells material costs, and therefore, the overall solar cell price. Emphasis was placed on a proper mass suitable fabrication process of the CuXX component. The NPCuXX paste has been applied both to conventional cell structures such as aluminum-back surface field (Al-BSF) and passivated emitter and rear contact (PERC), and finally solar cells with front electrodes deposited by screen-printing method were fabricated and characterized by current-voltage techniques. This paper reports the first implementation of the copper volumetric material into a screen print paste used in a high-temperature metallization process to fabricate the front contacts of Si solar cells with a highest fill factor of 77.92 and 77.69% for the abovementioned structures, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
CdS/CdTe Heterostructures for Applications in Ultra-Thin Solar Cells
Materials 2018, 11(10), 1788; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11101788 - 20 Sep 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The preparation of ultra-thin semi-transparent solar cells with potential applications in windows or transparent roofs entails several challenges due to the very small thickness of the layers involved. In particular, problems related to undesired inter-diffusion or inhomogeneities originated by incomplete coverage of the [...] Read more.
The preparation of ultra-thin semi-transparent solar cells with potential applications in windows or transparent roofs entails several challenges due to the very small thickness of the layers involved. In particular, problems related to undesired inter-diffusion or inhomogeneities originated by incomplete coverage of the growing surfaces must be prevented. In this paper, undoped SnO2, CdS, and CdTe thin films with thickness suitable for use in ultra-thin solar cells were deposited with a radiofrequency (RF) magnetron sputtering technique onto conductive glass. Preparation conditions were found for depositing the individual layers with good surface coverage, absence of pin holes and with a relatively small growth rate adapted for the control of very small thickness. After a careful growth calibration procedure, heterostructured solar cells devices were fabricated. The influence of an additional undoped SnO2 buffer layer deposited between the conductive glass and the CdS window was studied. The incorporation of this layer led to an enhancement of both short circuit current and open circuit voltage (by 19 and 32%, respectively) without appreciable changes of other parameters. After the analysis of the cell parameters extracted from the current-voltage (I-V) curves, possible origins of these effects were found to be: Passivation effects of the SnO2/CdS interface, blocking of impurities diffusion or improvement of the band alignment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Photovoltaic Applications)
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