National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) researchers in Japan have succeeded in producing highly reproducible and highly stable perovskite solar cells with a new low-temperature solution process.

To date conventional perovskite solar cells produced by low-temperature solution processes have had problems in terms of stability and reproducibility, and details of their operational mechanism were difficult to clarify.

The ad hoc team on Perovskite PV Cells led by Kenjiro Miyano of the Global Research Center for Environment and Energy based on Nanomaterials Science at NIMS succeeded using a low-temperature solution process, which is essential for realizing next-generation solar cells with such characteristics as low-cost, lightweight and flexibility.

Low Temperature Process Perovskite Solar Cell. Image Credit: Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

Low Temperature Process Perovskite Solar Cell Layout. Image Credit: Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

In this research, the team developed a new chlorine-mediated interdiffusion method, in which chlorine is added in the process of forming perovskite crystals. The result is high-efficiency perovskite solar cells having the following excellent characteristics by using a low-temperature solution process.
1. A highest process temperature of less than 140°C (for high compatibility with flexible substrates, etc.).
2. Excellent stability exhibiting consistent output characteristics for a long period.
3. Excellent durability maintaining stable output characteristics even under continuous light exposure for about two hours.
4. Highly reliable output characteristics and reproducibility exhibiting consistent conversion efficiency irrespective of the voltage sweep, direction, etc.

The use of a low-temperature solution process makes it possible to produce solar cells with lightweight and flexible substrates such as plastic. In addition, the development of highly stable, durable, and reproducible devices based on this research result enables detailed analysis of the operation of the devices even under continuous light exposure. It is expected that research of the perovskite operational mechanism, which had been difficult in the past, to advance rapidly toward practical application of perovskite solar cells.

The press release has been a long time coming out. The results were published in the June 14, 2015, issue of Journal of Materials Chemistry A, a journal issued by the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK. They made a presentation at the 10th Global Research Center for Environment and Energy Symposium on June 20, 2015, along with the latest results they had obtained.

Its fascinating and impressive to watch the progress in using perovskite for making solar cells. The new ideas, research results and achievements are coming at an astonishing pace. While not really ready for commercial production at scale, the threshold is not far off now. But still the pace of improvements has to give product planners pause, knowing whatever they choose to do will likely be obsolete, in perhaps, mere weeks. Oddly, from where we sit, that’s a pretty good problem to have.


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