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Atomic layer deposition for perovskite solar cells: research status, opportunities and challenges

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      Abstract

      This manuscript reviews the application of atomic layer deposition (ALD) for perovskite solar cells exploring also novel opportunities and the challenges that research has to face to deposit ALD layers on perovskite films.

      Abstract

      Atomic layer deposition is widely acknowledged as a powerful technique for the deposition of high quality layers for several applications including photovoltaics (PV). The capability of ALD to generate dense, conformal, virtually pinhole-free layers becomes attractive also for the emerging organo-metal halide perovskite solar cells (PSCs), which have garnered the interest of the PV community through their remarkable efficiency gains, now over 20%, in just a few years of research. Until now, the application of ALD layers in PSCs has almost exclusively been restricted to the stages of device fabrication prior to perovskite deposition. Researchers have mainly focused on fabricating efficient electron and hole transport layers (TiO2, SnO2, ZnO, NiO) and ultra-thin Al2O3 or TiO2 passivation layers for several device configurations. The first section of this contribution reviews the current state-of-the-art ALD for perovskite solar cells. Then, we explore other potential opportunities, such as the fabrication of doped metal oxide selective contacts and transparent electrodes, also for use in tandem solar cell architectures, as well as barrier layers for encapsulation. Finally, we present our own experimental investigation of the challenges involved in depositing directly on perovskite absorbers in view of replacing organic electron and hole transport layers with ALD metal oxides (MOs). Therefore, the effects of temperature, oxidizing agents and metal precursors on perovskite are studied. A number of insights are gained which can lead to the development of ad hoc ALD processes that are compatible with the underlying perovskite, in this case, methylammonium lead iodide, MAPbI3. The phase purity and surface chemistry of the perovskite were used as metrics to quantify the feasibility of depositing selected MOs which can be adopted as selective contacts and passivation layers.

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      Organometal halide perovskites as visible-light sensitizers for photovoltaic cells.

      Two organolead halide perovskite nanocrystals, CH(3)NH(3)PbBr(3) and CH(3)NH(3)PbI(3), were found to efficiently sensitize TiO(2) for visible-light conversion in photoelectrochemical cells. When self-assembled on mesoporous TiO(2) films, the nanocrystalline perovskites exhibit strong band-gap absorptions as semiconductors. The CH(3)NH(3)PbI(3)-based photocell with spectral sensitivity of up to 800 nm yielded a solar energy conversion efficiency of 3.8%. The CH(3)NH(3)PbBr(3)-based cell showed a high photovoltage of 0.96 V with an external quantum conversion efficiency of 65%.
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        Sequential deposition as a route to high-performance perovskite-sensitized solar cells.

        Following pioneering work, solution-processable organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites-such as CH3NH3PbX3 (X = Cl, Br, I)-have attracted attention as light-harvesting materials for mesoscopic solar cells. So far, the perovskite pigment has been deposited in a single step onto mesoporous metal oxide films using a mixture of PbX2 and CH3NH3X in a common solvent. However, the uncontrolled precipitation of the perovskite produces large morphological variations, resulting in a wide spread of photovoltaic performance in the resulting devices, which hampers the prospects for practical applications. Here we describe a sequential deposition method for the formation of the perovskite pigment within the porous metal oxide film. PbI2 is first introduced from solution into a nanoporous titanium dioxide film and subsequently transformed into the perovskite by exposing it to a solution of CH3NH3I. We find that the conversion occurs within the nanoporous host as soon as the two components come into contact, permitting much better control over the perovskite morphology than is possible with the previously employed route. Using this technique for the fabrication of solid-state mesoscopic solar cells greatly increases the reproducibility of their performance and allows us to achieve a power conversion efficiency of approximately 15 per cent (measured under standard AM1.5G test conditions on solar zenith angle, solar light intensity and cell temperature). This two-step method should provide new opportunities for the fabrication of solution-processed photovoltaic cells with unprecedented power conversion efficiencies and high stability equal to or even greater than those of today's best thin-film photovoltaic devices.
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          Efficient hybrid solar cells based on meso-superstructured organometal halide perovskites.

          The energy costs associated with separating tightly bound excitons (photoinduced electron-hole pairs) and extracting free charges from highly disordered low-mobility networks represent fundamental losses for many low-cost photovoltaic technologies. We report a low-cost, solution-processable solar cell, based on a highly crystalline perovskite absorber with intense visible to near-infrared absorptivity, that has a power conversion efficiency of 10.9% in a single-junction device under simulated full sunlight. This "meso-superstructured solar cell" exhibits exceptionally few fundamental energy losses; it can generate open-circuit photovoltages of more than 1.1 volts, despite the relatively narrow absorber band gap of 1.55 electron volts. The functionality arises from the use of mesoporous alumina as an inert scaffold that structures the absorber and forces electrons to reside in and be transported through the perovskite.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Department of Applied Physics
            [2 ]Eindhoven University of Technology
            [3 ]5600 MB Eindhoven
            [4 ]The Netherlands
            [5 ]Solliance – Holst Centre
            [6 ]5656 AE Eindhoven
            [7 ]Philips Innovation Labs
            Journal
            SEFUA7
            Sustainable Energy & Fuels
            Sustainable Energy Fuels
            Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
            2398-4902
            2017
            2017
            : 1
            : 1
            : 30-55
            10.1039/C6SE00076B
            © 2017
            Product
            Self URI (article page): http://xlink.rsc.org/?DOI=C6SE00076B

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