Recent Progress in Solar Cell Technology and Future Prospects

A special issue of Photonics (ISSN 2304-6732).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2023) | Viewed by 26905

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Engineering Research Center for Semiconductor Integrated Technology, Institute of Semiconductors, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100083, China
Interests: high efficiency solar cells; nanoscale thermoelectrics; nanofabrication; low dimensional structures; semiconductor physics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf e. V. (HZDR), 01328 Dresden, Germany
Interests: anodic aluminum oxide template; surface plasmon resonance; solar energy harvesting
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Engineering Research Center for Semiconductor Integrated Technology, Institute of Semiconductors, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100083, China
Interests: high efficiency solar cells; nanofabrication
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We have the pleasure to invite you to contribute a paper for the Special Issue under the title “Recent Progress in Solar Cell Technology and Future Prospects” which will be published on Photonics, MDPI.

As an important renewable energy source for solving global energy shortage, solar cells have received a great deal of attention for decades. Solar energy can be harvested and converted to electric power by using many materials and manners. The biggest challenge in photovoltaic technology is how to increase the photocurrent conversion efficiency and decrease the fabrication cost. Lot of efforts have been made in exploring variable ways to get optimal efficiency and cost. For example, the record efficiency of the crystal silicon solar cell has exceeded 26%, which approaches the Shockley–Queisser theoretical value. In addition to silicon based material systems, many others have been explored, such as perovskites, CIGS thin films, III–V compounds and two-dimensional materials, etc. As a basis for developing new approaches, it is necessary to choose a suitable material and employ a proper device structure. It is also important to understand the physics behind the materials and devices.

This Special Issue will address these issues comprehensively. It aims to present a state of the art of various traditional or novel materials and devices that have been used in increasing the solar cells performance. Specifically, papers are encouraged to report new results by your group or review a recent progress and prospect of the solar cells in your research field. Researchers are warmly invited to submit contributions to this Special Issue. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Silicon;
  • III–V cells;
  • Thin-film chalcogenide;
  • Amorphous/microcrystalline;
  • Perovskite;
  • Dye sensitized;
  • Organic;
  • New concepts for future technologies.

You may choose our Joint Special Issue in Materials.

Prof. Dr. Xiaodong Wang
Dr. Rui Xu
Dr. Wen Liu
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Photonics 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 2400 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

  • silicon based
  • III-V cells
  • thin film
  • perovskite
  • dye sensitized
  • organic

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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14 pages, 2471 KiB  
Article
Designed Mesoporous Architecture by 10–100 nm TiO2 as Electron Transport Materials in Carbon-Based Multiporous-Layered-Electrode Perovskite Solar Cells
by Takaya Shioki, Ryuki Tsuji, Kota Oishi, Naoki Fukumuro and Seigo Ito
Photonics 2024, 11(3), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/photonics11030236 - 5 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1087
Abstract
Fully printable carbon-based multiporous-layered-electrode perovskite solar cells (MPLE-PSCs) are easy to fabricate and have excellent durability. In this study, the porosity of the mesoporous TiO2 layer as the electron transport layer in MPLE-PSCs was controlled by varying the particle diameter of TiO [...] Read more.
Fully printable carbon-based multiporous-layered-electrode perovskite solar cells (MPLE-PSCs) are easy to fabricate and have excellent durability. In this study, the porosity of the mesoporous TiO2 layer as the electron transport layer in MPLE-PSCs was controlled by varying the particle diameter of TiO2 nanoparticles from 14 nm to 98 nm. Furthermore, the results of absorbed photon-to-current conversion efficiency, visible light reflectance spectroscopy, pore-size distribution, X-ray diffraction, field emission scanning electron microscopy, and photovoltaic parameters of MPLE-PSCs are discussed. Although the porous TiO2 layer with smaller nanoparticles showed higher photoabsorption, it was found that the more voids of perovskite crystals created in the TiO2 porous layer, the smaller the particle size (<18 nm). The porous TiO2 layers with particles over 26 nm are well filled with perovskite crystals, resulting in a higher photovoltaic capacity with TiO2 particles over 26 nm. As a result, the short-circuit current density (JSC) showed a maximum value using 43 nm TiO2 particles, with an average power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 10.56 ± 1.42%. Moreover, the PCE showed a maximum value of 12.20% by using 26 nm TiO2 nanoparticles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Progress in Solar Cell Technology and Future Prospects)
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16 pages, 9838 KiB  
Article
An Opto-Electro-Thermal Model for Black-Silicon Assisted Photovoltaic Cells in Thermophotovoltaic Applications
by Jasman Y.-H. Chai, Basil T. Wong and Jaka Sunarso
Photonics 2023, 10(5), 565; https://doi.org/10.3390/photonics10050565 - 11 May 2023
Viewed by 1150
Abstract
Black silicon (b-Si)-assisted photovoltaic cells have textured b-Si surfaces, which have excellent light-trapping properties. There has been a limited amount of work performed on the theoretical modelling of b-Si photovoltaic cells, and hence, in this work, a coupled optical-electrical-thermal model has been proposed [...] Read more.
Black silicon (b-Si)-assisted photovoltaic cells have textured b-Si surfaces, which have excellent light-trapping properties. There has been a limited amount of work performed on the theoretical modelling of b-Si photovoltaic cells, and hence, in this work, a coupled optical-electrical-thermal model has been proposed for the simulation of b-Si photovoltaic cells. In particular, the thermal aspects in b-Si photovoltaic cells have not been discussed in the literature. In the proposed model, the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method was used to study the optical response of the b-Si photovoltaic cell. Semiconductor equations were used for the electrical modelling of the cell. For the thermal model, the Energy Balance Transport Model was used. The developed model was used to simulate b-Si photovoltaic cells under thermophotovoltaic sources. The impacts of heat generation on the electrical performance of thermophotovoltaic cells are discussed. Simulation results from this study showed that black silicon layer improved efficiency and power output in thermophotovoltaic cells compared to thermophotovoltaic cells with no surface texture. In addition, heat generation due to Joule heating and electron thermalization in b-Si-assisted thermophotovoltaic cells reduced the open-circuit voltage and electrical performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Progress in Solar Cell Technology and Future Prospects)
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14 pages, 2798 KiB  
Article
An Interlayer of Ultrasmall N-Rich Carbon Dots for Optimization of SnO2/CsFAPbI3 Interface
by Igor V. Margaryan, Anna A. Vedernikova, Peter S. Parfenov, Mikhail A. Baranov, Denis V. Danilov, Aleksandra V. Koroleva, Evgeniy V. Zhizhin, Sergey A. Cherevkov, Xiaoyu Zhang, Elena V. Ushakova and Aleksandr P. Litvin
Photonics 2023, 10(4), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/photonics10040379 - 30 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1752
Abstract
Photovoltaic devices based on organic–inorganic hybrid perovskites have engaged tremendous attention due to the enormous increase in power conversion efficiency (PCE). However, defect states formed at grain boundaries and interfaces hinder the achievement of PCE. A prospective strategy to both reduce interfacial defects [...] Read more.
Photovoltaic devices based on organic–inorganic hybrid perovskites have engaged tremendous attention due to the enormous increase in power conversion efficiency (PCE). However, defect states formed at grain boundaries and interfaces hinder the achievement of PCE. A prospective strategy to both reduce interfacial defects and control perovskite growth is the passivation of interfaces. The passivation of the electron-transporting layer/perovskite interface with ultrasmall carbon dots (CDs) with suitable chemical composition and functional groups on their surface may simultaneously affect the morphology of a perovskite layer, facilitate charge carriers extraction, and suppress interfacial recombination. Here, we show that CDs synthesized from diamine precursors may be used as an interlayer at the SnO2/FACsPbI3 interface. Ultrasmall CDs form a smooth, thin layer, providing better perovskite layer morphology. CD interlayers result in an increased average perovskite grain size, suppress the formation of small grains, and improve charge carriers’ extraction. As a result, photovoltaic devices with CD interlayers demonstrate a higher PCE due to the increased short-circuit current density and fill factor. These findings provide further insight into the construction of interfaces based on carbon nanomaterials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Progress in Solar Cell Technology and Future Prospects)
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10 pages, 2691 KiB  
Communication
A Facile Aqueous Solution Route for the Growth of Chalcogenide Perovskite BaZrS3 Films
by Samyak Dhole, Xiucheng Wei, Haolei Hui, Pinku Roy, Zachary Corey, Yongqiang Wang, Wanyi Nie, Aiping Chen, Hao Zeng and Quanxi Jia
Photonics 2023, 10(4), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/photonics10040366 - 25 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2259
Abstract
The prototypical chalcogenide perovskite, BaZrS3 (BZS), with its direct bandgap of 1.7–1.8 eV, high chemical stability, and strong light–matter interactions, has garnered significant interest over the past few years. So far, attempts to grow BaZrS3 films have been limited mainly to [...] Read more.
The prototypical chalcogenide perovskite, BaZrS3 (BZS), with its direct bandgap of 1.7–1.8 eV, high chemical stability, and strong light–matter interactions, has garnered significant interest over the past few years. So far, attempts to grow BaZrS3 films have been limited mainly to physical vapor deposition techniques. Here, we report the fabrication of BZS thin films via a facile aqueous solution route of polymer-assisted deposition (PAD), where the polymer-chelated cation precursor films were sulfurized in a mixed CS2 and Ar atmosphere. The formation of a single-phase polycrystalline BZS thin film at a processing temperature of 900 °C was confirmed by X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy. The stoichiometry of the films was verified by Rutherford Backscattering spectrometry and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The BZS films showed a photoluminescence peak at around 1.8 eV and exhibited a photogenerated current under light illumination at a wavelength of 530 nm. Temperature-dependent resistivity analysis revealed that the conduction of BaZrS3 films under the dark condition could be described by the Efros–Shklovskii variable range hopping model in the temperature range of 60–300 K, with an activation energy of about 44 meV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Progress in Solar Cell Technology and Future Prospects)
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19 pages, 6429 KiB  
Article
SCAPS Empowered Machine Learning Modelling of Perovskite Solar Cells: Predictive Design of Active Layer and Hole Transport Materials
by Mahdi Hasanzadeh Azar, Samaneh Aynehband, Habib Abdollahi, Homayoon Alimohammadi, Nooshin Rajabi, Shayan Angizi, Vahid Kamraninejad, Razieh Teimouri, Raheleh Mohammadpour and Abdolreza Simchi
Photonics 2023, 10(3), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/photonics10030271 - 3 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 5189
Abstract
Recently, organic–inorganic perovskites have manifested great capacity to enhance the performance of photovoltaic systems, owing to their impressive optical and electronic properties. In this simulation survey, we employed the Solar Cell Capacitance Simulator (SCAPS-1D) to numerically analyze the effect of different hole transport [...] Read more.
Recently, organic–inorganic perovskites have manifested great capacity to enhance the performance of photovoltaic systems, owing to their impressive optical and electronic properties. In this simulation survey, we employed the Solar Cell Capacitance Simulator (SCAPS-1D) to numerically analyze the effect of different hole transport layers (HTLs) (Spiro, CIS, and CsSnI3) and perovskite active layers (ALs) (FAPbI3, MAPbI3, and CsPbI3) on the solar cells’ performance with an assumed configuration of FTO/SnO2/AL/HTL/Au. The influence of layer thickness, doping density, and defect density was studied. Then, we trained a machine learning (ML) model to perform predictions on the performance metrics of the solar cells. According to the SCAPS results, CsSnI3 (as HTL) with a thickness of 220 nm, a defect density of 5 × 1017 cm−3, and a doping density of 5 × 1019 cm−3 yielded the highest power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 23.90%. In addition, a 530 nm-FAPbI3 AL with a bandgap energy of 1.51 eV and a defect density of 1014 cm−3 was more favorable than MAPbI3 (1.55 eV) and CsPbI3 (1.73 eV) to attain a PCE of >24%. ML predicted the performance matrices of the investigated solar cells with ~75% accuracy. Therefore, the FTO/SnO2/FAPbI3/CsSnI3/Au structure would be suitable for experimental studies to fabricate high-performance photovoltaic devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Progress in Solar Cell Technology and Future Prospects)
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9 pages, 1631 KiB  
Communication
Nitrogen-Doped Nickel Graphene Core Shell Synthesis: Structural, Morphological, and Chemical Composition for Planar Hybrid Solar Cells Application
by Seung Beom Kang, Younjung Jo, Nguyen Hoang Lam, Nguyen Tam Nguyen Truong, Jae Hak Jung and Chang-Duk Kim
Photonics 2023, 10(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/photonics10010018 - 24 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1520
Abstract
In this study, nitrogen-doped nickel graphene core cells (N-NiGR) are synthesized using the thermal chemical vapor deposition method. The structural, morphological, and chemical composition properties of N-NiGR are investigated using X-ray diffractometry (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), respectively. [...] Read more.
In this study, nitrogen-doped nickel graphene core cells (N-NiGR) are synthesized using the thermal chemical vapor deposition method. The structural, morphological, and chemical composition properties of N-NiGR are investigated using X-ray diffractometry (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), respectively. N-NiGR has shown potential as a material that can assist charge carrier transportation in the photoactive a layer of planar hybrid solar cell (PHSC) owing to its high charge carrier mobility and stability with the solution process. Here, we investigated for the first time an enhancement of the solar cell efficiency (by up to a 2% increase) in PHSCs by incorporating the charge selective N-NiGR into the device’s photoactive layer. Synthesized N-NiGR with different concentrations are incorporated into the active layer of the devices as charge transport material. The device structure of an ITO-coated glass/Hole transport layer/(PBT7+N-NiGR+SnS)/Electron transport layer/Cathode is fabricated and the maximum power conversion efficiency of the device was observed to be about 4.35%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Progress in Solar Cell Technology and Future Prospects)
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15 pages, 4217 KiB  
Article
Theoretical Analysis of Optical Properties for Amorphous Silicon Solar Cells with Adding Anti-Reflective Coating Photonic Crystals
by Hassan Sayed, Mawaheb Al-Dossari, Mohamed A. Ismail, Nashaat S. Abd El-Gawaad and Arafa H. Aly
Photonics 2022, 9(11), 813; https://doi.org/10.3390/photonics9110813 - 28 Oct 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3168
Abstract
In the current study, we aim to limit the power dissipation in amorphous silicon solar cells by enhancing the cell absorbance at different incident angles. The current improvement is justified by adding the single-period of ternary 1D photonic crystal with texturing on the [...] Read more.
In the current study, we aim to limit the power dissipation in amorphous silicon solar cells by enhancing the cell absorbance at different incident angles. The current improvement is justified by adding the single-period of ternary 1D photonic crystal with texturing on the top surface, which acts as an anti-reflecting coating. The texturing shape gives the photons at least two chances to localize inside the active area of the cell. Therefore, it increases the absorbance of the cell. Moreover, we add binary one-dimensional photonic crystals with the features of a photonic band gap, which acts as a back mirror to return the photons that were transmitted inside the cell’s active region. The considered structure is demonstrated by the well-defined finite element method (FEM) by using COMSOL multiphysics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Progress in Solar Cell Technology and Future Prospects)
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13 pages, 3378 KiB  
Article
Improving the Performance of Direct Bonded Five-Junction Solar Cells by Optimization of AlInP Window Layer
by Ge Li, Hongbo Lu, Xinyi Li and Wei Zhang
Photonics 2022, 9(6), 404; https://doi.org/10.3390/photonics9060404 - 8 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1996
Abstract
It is well-known that the quantum efficiency (QE) of inverted AlGaInP solar cells is less than that of upright ones, and the mechanism has not been well-explained. In this paper, a Si-doped AlInP window layer, compared with an emitter layer, is revealed to [...] Read more.
It is well-known that the quantum efficiency (QE) of inverted AlGaInP solar cells is less than that of upright ones, and the mechanism has not been well-explained. In this paper, a Si-doped AlInP window layer, compared with an emitter layer, is revealed to be one more important factor that decreases QE. It is noted that the quality of a heavily Si-doped AlInP window layer would decrease and further deteriorate subsequent active layers. An optimization strategy of a Si-doped AlInP window layer is proposed, which proves effective through time-resolved photoluminescence measurements (TRPL) of double heterojunctions. Inverted 2.1 eV AlGaInP solar cells with an improved AlInP window layer are fabricated. A 60 mV Voc increment is achieved with a remarkable enhancement of the fill factor from 0.789 to 0.827. An enhanced QE of 10% to 20% is achieved at short-wavelength and the peak IQE rises from 83.3% to 88.2%, which presents a nearly identical IQE compared with the upright reference. Further optimization in GaAs homojunction sub-cells is performed by introducing an n-GaInP/p-GaAs heterojunction structure, which decreases the recombination loss in the emitter caused by a poor AlInP window layer. The optimized structure significantly improves the Voc of the inverted GaAs-based T-3J solar cells to 3830 mV, boosting the efficiency of SBT five-junction solar cells to 35.61% under AM0 illumination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Progress in Solar Cell Technology and Future Prospects)
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10 pages, 1625 KiB  
Article
Detailed Balance-Limiting Efficiency of Solar Cells with Dual Intermediate Bands Based on InAs/InGaAs Quantum Dots
by Shenglin Wang, Xiaoguang Yang, Hongyu Chai, Zunren Lv, Shuai Wang, Haomiao Wang, Hong Wang, Lei Meng and Tao Yang
Photonics 2022, 9(5), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/photonics9050290 - 24 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2678
Abstract
The intermediate-band solar cell (IBSC) has been proposed as a high-efficiency solar cell because of the extended absorption it allows for, which results from the intermediate band. In order to further increase the efficiency of IBSCs, we study a novel device with dual [...] Read more.
The intermediate-band solar cell (IBSC) has been proposed as a high-efficiency solar cell because of the extended absorption it allows for, which results from the intermediate band. In order to further increase the efficiency of IBSCs, we study a novel device with dual intermediate bands. Because of the extended absorption from the second intermediate band, the efficiency of a dual IBSC can reach 86.5% at a full concentration. Moreover, we study the performance of the IBSC based on InAs/InGaAs quantum dots. The efficiency of the device is shown to be able to reach 74.4% when the In composition is 75%. In addition, the transition process between the dual intermediate bands greatly affects the efficiency, so it is important to design the dual intermediate bands in a precise manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Progress in Solar Cell Technology and Future Prospects)
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Review

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22 pages, 4268 KiB  
Review
Recent Applications of Antireflection Coatings in Solar Cells
by Chunxue Ji, Wen Liu, Yidi Bao, Xiaoling Chen, Guiqiang Yang, Bo Wei, Fuhua Yang and Xiaodong Wang
Photonics 2022, 9(12), 906; https://doi.org/10.3390/photonics9120906 - 27 Nov 2022
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 4697
Abstract
The antireflection coating (ARC) suppresses surface light loss and thus improves the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of solar cells, which is its essential function. This paper reviews the latest applications of antireflection optical thin films in different types of solar cells and summarizes [...] Read more.
The antireflection coating (ARC) suppresses surface light loss and thus improves the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of solar cells, which is its essential function. This paper reviews the latest applications of antireflection optical thin films in different types of solar cells and summarizes the experimental data. Basic optical theories of designing antireflection coatings, commonly used antireflection materials, and their classic combinations are introduced. Since single and double antireflection coatings no longer meet the research needs in terms of antireflection effect and bandwidth, the current research mainly concentrates on multiple layer antireflection coatings, for example, adjusting the porosity or material components to achieve a better refractive index matching and the reflection effect. However, blindly stacking the antireflection films is unfeasible, and the stress superposition would allow the film layer to fail quickly. The gradient refractive index (GRIN) structure almost eliminates the interface, which significantly improves the adhesion and permeability efficiency. The high-low-high-low refractive index (HLHL) structure achieves considerable antireflection efficiency with fewer materials while selecting materials with opposite stress properties improves the ease of stress management. However, more sophisticated techniques are needed to prepare these two structures. Furthermore, using fewer materials to achieve a better antireflection effect and reduce the impact of stress on the coatings is a research hotspot worthy of attention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Progress in Solar Cell Technology and Future Prospects)
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