Special Issue "Emerging Photovoltaic Materials for High-Performance and High-Stable Photovoltaic Applications"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Donghyeop Shin
Website
Guest Editor
Korea Institute of Energy Research, Photovoltaics Laboratory
Interests: Novel solar energy material synthesis, Inorganic semiconductors, Photovoltaic/photocatalytic devices, Nano-scale material/device characterization
Dr. Hun Park
Website
Guest Editor
Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information
Interests: Dye-sensitized solar cells, Si-based solar cells, Anodization, TiO2 nanostructures, Electochemical impedance spectroscopy
Dr. Nikolai Tsvetkov
Website
Guest Editor
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Department of Energy, Environment, Water, and Sustainability
Interests: Photovoltaics, Nanomaterials and interfaces, Perovskite and dye-sensitized solar cells
Prof. Jun Hong Noh
Website
Co-Guest Editor
School of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, Korea University, Seoul 136-713, Republic of Korea
Interests: Solar cells, photoelectrochemical cells, oxide nanoparticles and thin films, inorganic-organic hybrid crystals, perovskite halides

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Various photovoltaics (PV) devices employing inorganic, organic, and hybrid organic-inorganic materials have shown notable progress in terms of improving power conversion efficiency and stability over the past decade. Disovery of superior PV materials, maximum utilization of sunlight through tandem device structure, defect engineering by nanotechnology, and introduction of novel functional nanostructure led to the improvement in PV device performance exceeding more than 22%. Nevertheless, the aforementioned PV devices are still suffering from critical issues such as material scarcity, instability, toxicity, power generation cost and etc. To address such challenges of PV materials and devices, this special issue aims to discuss the state-of-the-art advances in various PV applications including inorganic (e.g., Si, CIGSSe, CZTSSe), dye-sensitized, organic, and organic-inorganic hybrid (i.e., perovskite) solar cells. Thus, we would like to invite authors to submit their original and high-quality research articles or review papers on novel PV material design/synthesis, device structure, and material/device processing, advanced characterization technologies and modeling toward high-performance/stable photovoltaic devices. 

Topics to be covered in this special issue

-Earth-abundant photovoltaic materials and high efficiency devices beyond chalcopyrite-based chalcogenides

- Emerging orgainc-inorganic hybrid photovoltaic materials and devices with long-term stability beyond Pb-based perovskite halides

- Novel photovoltaic device structure, chacracterization and modeling toward ultrahigh PV performance

※ PV absorber materials will not be limited to well-known Si, CZTSSe, MAPbI3, and related compounds.

Dr. Donghyeop Shin
Dr. Hun Park
Dr. Nikolai Tsvetkov
Prof. Jun Hong Noh
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 1800 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 material
  • solar cells
  • earth-abundant and eco-friendly absorbers
  • multi-junction device
  • advanced materials/device characterization
  • device modeling

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Charge Transfer in Mixed-Phase TiO2 Photoelectrodes for Perovskite Solar Cells
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 788; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12030788 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
In mesoscopic perovskite solar cells (PSCs) the recombination processes within the TiO2 photoelectrode and at the TiO2/perovskite interface limit power conversion efficiency. To overcome this challenge, we investigated the effect of TiO2 phase composition on the electronic structure of [...] Read more.
In mesoscopic perovskite solar cells (PSCs) the recombination processes within the TiO2 photoelectrode and at the TiO2/perovskite interface limit power conversion efficiency. To overcome this challenge, we investigated the effect of TiO2 phase composition on the electronic structure of TiO2 photoelectrodes, as well as on PSCs performance. For this, a set of PSCs based on TiO2 thin films with different content of anatase and rutile particles was fabricated under ambient conditions. X-ray diffraction, optical spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy were used to study the structural, morphological and optical characteristics of TiO2 powders and TiO2-based thin films. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis of anatase revealed a cliff conduction band alignment of 0.2 eV with respect to the rutile. Energy band alignment at the anatase/rutile/perovskite interfaces deduced from the XPS data provides the possibility for interparticle electron transport from the rutile to anatase phase and the efficient blocking of electron recombination at the TiO2/perovskite interface, leading to efficient electron-hole separation in PSCs based on mixed-phase TiO2 photoelectrodes. PSCs based on TiO2 layers with 60/40 anatase/rutile ratio were characterized by optimized charge extraction and low level of recombination at the perovskite/TiO2 interface and showed the best energy conversion efficiency of 13.4% among the studied PSCs. Obtained results provide a simple and effective approach towards the development of the next generation high efficiency PSCs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Phenyl-C61-Butyric Acid Methyl Ester Hybrid Solution for Efficient CH3NH3PbI3 Perovskite Solar Cells
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3867; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143867 - 16 Jul 2019
Abstract
Organic–inorganic halide perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have excellent chemical, electronic, and optical properties, making them attractive next-generation thin-film solar cells. Typical PSCs were fabricated with a perovskite absorber layer between the TiO2 electron-transport layer (ETL) and the 2,2′,7,7′-tetrakis-(N,N-di-4-methoxyphenylamino)-9,9′-spirobifluorene (Spiro-OMeTAD) hole-transport layer (HTL). [...] Read more.
Organic–inorganic halide perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have excellent chemical, electronic, and optical properties, making them attractive next-generation thin-film solar cells. Typical PSCs were fabricated with a perovskite absorber layer between the TiO2 electron-transport layer (ETL) and the 2,2′,7,7′-tetrakis-(N,N-di-4-methoxyphenylamino)-9,9′-spirobifluorene (Spiro-OMeTAD) hole-transport layer (HTL). We examined the influence of phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) on the PSC device. PSCs using the PCBM layer as an ETL were investigated, and the absorber layer was coated by dissolving PCBM in a methyl ammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) precursor solution to examine the changes at the perovskite interface and inside the perovskite absorber layer. The PSCs fabricated by adding a small amount of PCBM to the MAPbI3 solution exhibited a significantly higher maximum efficiency of 16.55% than conventional PSCs (14.34%). Fabricating the PCBM ETL and PCBM-MAPbI3 hybrid solid is expected to be an efficient route for improving the photovoltaic performance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Etch Characteristics and Morphology of Al2O3/TiO2 Stacks for Silicon Surface Passivation
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3857; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143857 - 16 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Chemical processes are very important for the development of high-efficiency crystalline solar cells, mainly for surface texturing to improve light absorption and cleaning processes to reduce surface recombination. Recently, research has been focusing on the impact of chemical polishing on the performance of [...] Read more.
Chemical processes are very important for the development of high-efficiency crystalline solar cells, mainly for surface texturing to improve light absorption and cleaning processes to reduce surface recombination. Recently, research has been focusing on the impact of chemical polishing on the performance of a passivated emitter and rear cells (PERC), with particular emphasis on the dielectric passivation layers on the front side. This study examined the influence of etching on the passivation of Al2O3/TiO2 stacks, where the films may each be deposited using a range of deposition and post-annealing parameters. Most TiO2 films deposited at 300 °C were resistant to chemical etching, and higher temperature deposition and annealing produced more chemical-resistant films. TiO2 films deposited at 100 °C were etched slightly by SC1 and SC2 solutions at room temperature, whereas they were etched at a relatively high rate in an HF solution, even when capped with a thick TiO2 layer (up to 50 nm in thickness); blistering occurred in 20-nm-thick Al2O3 films. In contrast to the as-deposited films, the annealed films showed a lower level of passivation as 1% HF etching proceeded. The implied open circuit voltage of the samples annealed at 300 °C after HF etching decreased more than those annealed at 400 °C. The dark area in the photoluminescence images was not resistant to the HF solution and showed more etch pits. The etching strategies developed in this study are expected to help setup integration processes and increase the applicability of this stack to solar cells. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Surface Passivation of Boron Emitters on n-Type Silicon Solar Cells
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3784; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143784 - 10 Jul 2019
Abstract
Al2O3/SiNx stack passivation layers are among the most popular layers used for commercial silicon solar cells. In particular, aluminum oxide has a high negative charge, while the SiNx film is known to supply hydrogen as well as [...] Read more.
Al2O3/SiNx stack passivation layers are among the most popular layers used for commercial silicon solar cells. In particular, aluminum oxide has a high negative charge, while the SiNx film is known to supply hydrogen as well as impart antireflective properties. Although there are many experimental results that show that the passivation characteristics are lowered by using the stack passivation layer, the cause of the passivation is not yet understood. In this study, we investigated the passivation characteristics of Al2O3/SiNx stack layers. To identify the hydrogenation effect, we analyzed the hydrogen migration with atom probe tomography by comparing the pre-annealing and post-annealing treatments. For chemical passivation, capacitance-voltage measurements were used to confirm the negative fixed charge density due to heat treatment. Moreover, the field-effect passivation was understood by confirming changes in the Al2O3 structure using electron energy-loss spectroscopy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Restoring the Reactivity of Organic Acid Solution Used for Silver Recovery from Solar Cells by Fractional Distillation
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3659; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133659 - 03 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Methanesulfonic acid (MSA) is used to recover silver (Ag) from solar cells by adding an oxidizing agent. It is possible to regenerate by substituting of H+ for Ag+, and thus it can be reused for additional reactions. However, MSA is [...] Read more.
Methanesulfonic acid (MSA) is used to recover silver (Ag) from solar cells by adding an oxidizing agent. It is possible to regenerate by substituting of H+ for Ag+, and thus it can be reused for additional reactions. However, MSA is highly hygroscopic, and as an oxidizing agent can easily decompose in the acidic environment during Ag extraction, leading to dilution due to the formation of H2O. This H2O in the MSA solution hinders the Ag extraction. In this study, we present a fractional distillation process for restoring the reactivity of reused MSA solutions by reducing the H2O content. Our results showed that the reactivity of the separated MSA was restored and Ag could be recovered from the solar cell. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Recent Development in Earth-Abundant Kesterite Materials and Their Applications
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5138; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125138 - 24 Jun 2020
Abstract
Kesterite Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) has attracted attention as an earth-abundant alternative to commercially successful CIGS solar cells. CZTS exhibits decent optoelectrical properties while having excellent stability on top of being an earth-abundant, low-cost and non-toxic material. Therefore, in recent years, there [...] Read more.
Kesterite Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) has attracted attention as an earth-abundant alternative to commercially successful CIGS solar cells. CZTS exhibits decent optoelectrical properties while having excellent stability on top of being an earth-abundant, low-cost and non-toxic material. Therefore, in recent years, there has been a significant research effort to develop CZTS-based devices. The efficiency of CZTS solar cells reached 12.6% in 2013, and this was a remarkable achievement at the time. However, the efficiency of these devices has been stagnant since then while emerging technologies, most notably perovskite solar cells, keep breaking record after record. Currently, CZTS research focuses on discovering the secrets of material properties that hinder the efficiency of CZTS solar cells while branching out to develop alternative applications for this material. In this review, we summarize the interesting properties of CZTS as well as its promising applications, which include thin-film solar cells, charge-transfer layers in perovskite solar cells, and photoelectrochemical water splitting while briefly commenting on its other possible applications. Full article
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