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Special Issue "Solar Energy Materials 2013"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2013) | Viewed by 36039

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Lioz Etgar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Chemistry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 90400, Israel
Interests: photovoltaic solar cells; physics of semiconductor materials; synthesis of nanomaterials; optical properties of nanomaterials; organic-inorganic perovskite; quantum dots; perovskite based solar cells; quantum solar cells; dye sensitized solar cells; photoactive materials
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

More energy from sunlight strikes the Earth in one hour (4.3 × 1020 J) than all the energy consumed on the planet in a year (4.1 × 1020 J). There is a huge gap between our present use of solar energy and its potential, which defines the grand challenge in energy research.

In this special issue on “Solar Energy Materials” we are soliciting original experimental and theoretical papers and some critical reviews that utilized new and advanced materials for solar energy. We are looking for contributions on,

  • Photovoltaic solar cells, covering nanostructures solar cells, dye sensitized solar cells, organic photovoltaic, multijunction solar cells and extremely thin absorber cells.
  • Photothermal materials and devices, including heat storage materials.
  • Photoelectrochemical materials and devices, covering photoelectrodes, photocatalysis, photoconversion and solar desalination systems and their applications.
  • Optical Properties of materials, including light trapping, texturizing and solar concentrators.
  • Contributions regarding novel absorber materials which can be used in solar energy systems.
  • Materials for energy storage.

Experimental and numerical research on design, fabrication, characterization, properties, and applications of solar energy materials and structures are welcomed.

Dr. Lioz Etgar
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 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.


Keywords

  • photovoltaic solar cells
  • materials for energy storage
  • photoelectrochemical devices and materials.
  • nanostructures
  • solar thermal
  • mesoporous materials
  • hole transport materials

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Role of SiNx Barrier Layer on the Performances of Polyimide Ga2O3-doped ZnO p-i-n Hydrogenated Amorphous Silicon Thin Film Solar Cells
Materials 2014, 7(2), 948-962; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7020948 - 07 Feb 2014
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4062
Abstract
In this study, silicon nitride (SiNx) thin films were deposited on polyimide (PI) substrates as barrier layers by a plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) system. The gallium-doped zinc oxide (GZO) thin films were deposited on PI and SiNx/PI [...] Read more.
In this study, silicon nitride (SiNx) thin films were deposited on polyimide (PI) substrates as barrier layers by a plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) system. The gallium-doped zinc oxide (GZO) thin films were deposited on PI and SiNx/PI substrates at room temperature (RT), 100 and 200 °C by radio frequency (RF) magnetron sputtering. The thicknesses of the GZO and SiNx thin films were controlled at around 160 ± 12 nm and 150 ± 10 nm, respectively. The optimal deposition parameters for the SiNx thin films were a working pressure of 800 × 10−3 Torr, a deposition power of 20 W, a deposition temperature of 200 °C, and gas flowing rates of SiH4 = 20 sccm and NH3 = 210 sccm, respectively. For the GZO/PI and GZO-SiNx/PI structures we had found that the GZO thin films deposited at 100 and 200 °C had higher crystallinity, higher electron mobility, larger carrier concentration, smaller resistivity, and higher optical transmittance ratio. For that, the GZO thin films deposited at 100 and 200 °C on PI and SiNx/PI substrates with thickness of ~1000 nm were used to fabricate p-i-n hydrogenated amorphous silicon (α-Si) thin film solar cells. 0.5% HCl solution was used to etch the surfaces of the GZO/PI and GZO-SiNx/PI substrates. Finally, PECVD system was used to deposit α-Si thin film onto the etched surfaces of the GZO/PI and GZO-SiNx/PI substrates to fabricate α-Si thin film solar cells, and the solar cells’ properties were also investigated. We had found that substrates to get the optimally solar cells’ efficiency were 200 °C-deposited GZO-SiNx/PI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Materials 2013)
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Article
Fabrication of CIS Absorber Layers with Different Thicknesses Using A Non-Vacuum Spray Coating Method
Materials 2014, 7(1), 206-217; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7010206 - 03 Jan 2014
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3455
Abstract
In this study, a new thin-film deposition process, spray coating method (SPM), was investigated to deposit the high-densified CuInSe2 absorber layers. The spray coating method developed in this study was a non-vacuum process, based on dispersed nano-scale CuInSe2 precursor and could [...] Read more.
In this study, a new thin-film deposition process, spray coating method (SPM), was investigated to deposit the high-densified CuInSe2 absorber layers. The spray coating method developed in this study was a non-vacuum process, based on dispersed nano-scale CuInSe2 precursor and could offer a simple, inexpensive, and alternative formation technology for CuInSe2 absorber layers. After spraying on Mo/glass substrates, the CuInSe2 thin films were annealed at 550 °C by changing the annealing time from 5 min to 30 min in a selenization furnace, using N2 as atmosphere. When the CuInSe2 thin films were annealed, without extra Se or H2Se gas used as the compensation source during the annealing process. The aim of this project was to investigate the influence of annealing time on the densification and crystallization of the CuInSe2 absorber layers to optimize the quality for cost effective solar cell production. The thickness of the CuInSe2 absorber layers could be controlled as the volume of used dispersed CuInSe2-isopropyl alcohol solution was controlled. In this work, X-ray diffraction patterns, field emission scanning electron microscopy, and Hall parameter measurements were performed in order to verify the quality of the CuInSe2 absorber layers obtained by the Spray Coating Method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Materials 2013)
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Article
Damp Heat Treatment of Cu(In,Ga)Se2 Solar Cells with Different Sodium Content
Materials 2013, 6(12), 5478-5489; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma6125478 - 27 Nov 2013
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3503
Abstract
Long term stability is crucial to maturing any photovoltaic technology. We have studied the influence of sodium, which plays a key role in optimizing the performance of Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGSe) solar cells, on the long-term stability of flexible CIGSe solar cells on polyimide foil. [...] Read more.
Long term stability is crucial to maturing any photovoltaic technology. We have studied the influence of sodium, which plays a key role in optimizing the performance of Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGSe) solar cells, on the long-term stability of flexible CIGSe solar cells on polyimide foil. The standardized procedure of damp heat exposure (85% relative humidity at 85 °C) was used to simulate aging of the unencapsulated cells in multiple time steps while they were characterized by current-voltage analysis, capacitance-voltage profiling, as well as electroluminescence imaging. By comparing the aging process to cells that were exposed to heat only, it could be confirmed that moisture plays the key role in the degradation process. We found that cells with higher sodium content suffer from a more pronounced degradation. Furthermore, the experimental results indicate the superposition of an enhancing and a deteriorating mechanism during the aging process. We propose an explanation based on the corrosion of the planar contacts of the solar cell. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Materials 2013)
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Article
Efficiency Improvement of HIT Solar Cells on p-Type Si Wafers
Materials 2013, 6(11), 5440-5446; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma6115440 - 22 Nov 2013
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3584
Abstract
Single crystal silicon solar cells are still predominant in the market due to the abundance of silicon on earth and their acceptable efficiency. Different solar-cell structures of single crystalline Si have been investigated to boost efficiency; the heterojunction with intrinsic thin layer (HIT) [...] Read more.
Single crystal silicon solar cells are still predominant in the market due to the abundance of silicon on earth and their acceptable efficiency. Different solar-cell structures of single crystalline Si have been investigated to boost efficiency; the heterojunction with intrinsic thin layer (HIT) structure is currently the leading technology. The record efficiency values of state-of-the art HIT solar cells have always been based on n-type single-crystalline Si wafers. Improving the efficiency of cells based on p-type single-crystalline Si wafers could provide broader options for the development of HIT solar cells. In this study, we varied the thickness of intrinsic hydrogenated amorphous Si layer to improve the efficiency of HIT solar cells on p-type Si wafers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Materials 2013)
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Article
Development of Screen-Printed Texture-Barrier Paste for Single-Side Texturization of Interdigitated Back-Contact Silicon Solar Cell Applications
Materials 2013, 6(10), 4565-4573; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma6104565 - 17 Oct 2013
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3793
Abstract
Continuous cost reduction of silicon-based solar cells is needed to lower the process time and increase efficiency. To achieve lower costs, screen-printed texture-barrier (SPTB) paste was first developed for single-side texturization (ST) of the interdigitated back-contact (IBC) for silicon-based solar cell applications. The [...] Read more.
Continuous cost reduction of silicon-based solar cells is needed to lower the process time and increase efficiency. To achieve lower costs, screen-printed texture-barrier (SPTB) paste was first developed for single-side texturization (ST) of the interdigitated back-contact (IBC) for silicon-based solar cell applications. The SPTB paste was screen-printed on silicon substrates. The SPTB paste was synthesized from intermixed silicate glass (75 wt %), a resin binder (ethyl cellulose ethoce: 20 wt %), and a dispersing agent (fatty acid: 5 wt %). The silicate glass is a necessity for contact formation during firing. A resin binder and a dispersing agent determine the rheology of the SPTB paste. In this work, by modulating various parameters, including post SPTB firing, alkali texturing, and removal of the SPTB, the ST of IBC silicon solar cells was achieved. Since the advantages of the SPTB paste include low toxicity and prompt formation of the texture-barrier, SPTB is potentially suited for simple fabrication at low-cost for solar cell applications. The cost of the SPTB is around $100/kg which is lower than the SiH4/NH3 gas ambient used in plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). Thus, the expensive Si3N4 film deposited by PECVD using SiH4 and NH3 gas ambient for silicon solar cells can be replaced by this SPTB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Materials 2013)
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Article
Preparation and Optoelectronic Characteristics of ZnO/CuO-Cu2O Complex Inverse Heterostructure with GaP Buffer for Solar Cell Applications
Materials 2013, 6(10), 4479-4488; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma6104479 - 09 Oct 2013
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4455
Abstract
This study reports the optoelectronic characteristics of ZnO/GaP buffer/CuO-Cu2O complex (COC) inverse heterostructure for solar cell applications. The GaP and COC layers were used as buffer and absorber in the cell structure, respectively. An energy gap widening effect and CuO whiskers [...] Read more.
This study reports the optoelectronic characteristics of ZnO/GaP buffer/CuO-Cu2O complex (COC) inverse heterostructure for solar cell applications. The GaP and COC layers were used as buffer and absorber in the cell structure, respectively. An energy gap widening effect and CuO whiskers were observed as the copper (Cu) layer was exerted under heat treatment for oxidation at 500 °C for 10 min, and arose from the center of the Cu2O rods. For preparation of the 30 nm-thick GaP buffer by sputtering from GaP target, as the nitrogen gas flow rate increased from 0 to 2 sccm, the transmittance edge of the spectra demonstrated a blueshift form 2.24 to 3.25 eV. Therefore, the layer can be either GaP, GaNP, or GaN by changing the flow rate of nitrogen gas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Materials 2013)
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Review

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Review
Review of the Potential of the Ni/Cu Plating Technique for Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1318-1341; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021318 - 18 Feb 2014
Cited by 71 | Viewed by 6364
Abstract
Developing a better method for the metallization of silicon solar cells is integral part of realizing superior efficiency. Currently, contact realization using screen printing is the leading technology in the silicon based photovoltaic industry, as it is simple and fast. However, the problem [...] Read more.
Developing a better method for the metallization of silicon solar cells is integral part of realizing superior efficiency. Currently, contact realization using screen printing is the leading technology in the silicon based photovoltaic industry, as it is simple and fast. However, the problem with metallization of this kind is that it has a lower aspect ratio and higher contact resistance, which limits solar cell efficiency. The mounting cost of silver pastes and decreasing silicon wafer thicknesses encourages silicon solar cell manufacturers to develop fresh metallization techniques involving a lower quantity of silver usage and not relying pressing process of screen printing. In recent times nickel/copper (Ni/Cu) based metal plating has emerged as a metallization method that may solve these issues. This paper offers a detailed review and understanding of a Ni/Cu based plating technique for silicon solar cells. The formation of a Ni seed layer by adopting various deposition techniques and a Cu conducting layer using a light induced plating (LIP) process are appraised. Unlike screen-printed metallization, a step involving patterning is crucial for opening the masking layer. Consequently, experimental procedures involving patterning methods are also explicated. Lastly, the issues of adhesion, back ground plating, process complexity and reliability for industrial applications are also addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Materials 2013)
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Review
Development of Efficient and Stable Inverted Bulk Heterojunction (BHJ) Solar Cells Using Different Metal Oxide Interfaces
Materials 2013, 6(12), 5796-5820; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma6125796 - 10 Dec 2013
Cited by 54 | Viewed by 6521
Abstract
Solution-processed inverted bulk heterojunction (BHJ) solar cells have gained much more attention during the last decade, because of their significantly better environmental stability compared to the normal architecture BHJ solar cells. Transparent metal oxides (MeOx) play an important role as the [...] Read more.
Solution-processed inverted bulk heterojunction (BHJ) solar cells have gained much more attention during the last decade, because of their significantly better environmental stability compared to the normal architecture BHJ solar cells. Transparent metal oxides (MeOx) play an important role as the dominant class for solution-processed interface materials in this development, due to their excellent optical transparency, their relatively high electrical conductivity and their tunable work function. This article reviews the advantages and disadvantages of the most common synthesis methods used for the wet chemical preparation of the most relevant n-type- and p-type-like MeOx interface materials consisting of binary compounds AxBy. Their performance for applications as electron transport/extraction layers (ETL/EEL) and as hole transport/extraction layers (HTL/HEL) in inverted BHJ solar cells will be reviewed and discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Materials 2013)
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