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New transparent electrode developed to optimize solar cells.

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Scientists found that using a layer of chromium grains, they formed an ultra-thin gold film that acts as a transparent electrode with good electrical conductivity for perovskite solar cells. Credit: Penn State

The development of new ultrathin metal electrodes allows researchers to create highly efficient perovskite semi-transparent solar cells and can be combined with traditional silicon cells to dramatically increase the efficiency of both devices. An international team of scientists said The research shows a step towards the development of fully transparent solar cells.

Kai Wang, a Penn State research assistant professor of materials science and engineering and a co-author on the study, said: “Someday, transparent solar cells may find a place on windows in homes and office buildings. It generates electricity from sunlight that would otherwise be wasted,” said Kai Wang, a Penn State research assistant professor of materials science and engineering and co-author of the study. We have finally succeeded in creating an efficient semi-transparent solar cell.”

Traditional solar cells are made of silicon. But scientists believe they are approaching the limits of marching technology to create more efficient solar cells. Scientists say that perovskite cells are a promising alternative to stacking on top of conventional cells to create a more efficient coupling device.

Shashank Priya, Associate Vice President of Research and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State, said: “We have shown that we can make electrodes from atomic layers of very thin gold,”

; said Shashank Priya, vice vice president. “The thin gold layer has high electrical conductivity and at the same time does not interfere with the cells’ ability to absorb sunlight,” said Penn State Research and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.

The perovskite solar cell developed by the team has an efficiency of 19.8%, a record for a semi-transparent cell. and when combined with traditional silicon solar cells The coupled devices have an efficiency of 28.3%, an increase of 23.3% over silicon cells alone. The scientists report their findings in the journal Nano Energy.

“The 5% efficiency improvement is huge,” says Priya. “It basically means you are converting about 50 watts more sunlight for every square meter of solar cell material. A solar farm can consist of thousands of modules. which combines a large amount of electricity And that’s a big breakthrough.”

in previous research The ultra-thin gold film has been shown to be a transparent electrode in perovskite solar cells, but problems forming a uniform layer result in poor conductivity. the scientist said

The team found that the chromium used as the seed layer allows gold to form coherent ultra-thin layers with good electrical conductivity.

“Usually, if you grow a thin layer, you can grow it,” said Dong Yang, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering research at Penn State. something like gold The nanoparticles will pair together and form small islands.” “Chromium has a large surface energy, which is a good place for gold to grow. and enabling gold to create continuous thin films.”

Perovskite solar cells consist of five layers and other materials tested for damaged or deteriorating cell transparent electrodes. Scientists say that solar cells made with gold electrodes are stable and maintain high efficiency over time in laboratory tests.

“This breakthrough in tandem cell architecture design using transparent electrodes is an efficient path to transition to perovskite solar cells and coupled solar cells,” Yang said.

Reference: “Solar photovoltaic cells 28.3% efficiency perovskite/silicon tandem by best transparent electrode for high efficiency semi-transparent top cell” by Dong Yang, Xiaorong Zhang, Yuchen Hou, Kai Wang, Tao Ye, Jungjin Yoon, Congcong. Wu, Mohan Sanghadasa, Shengzhong (Frank) Liu and Shashank Priya, February 27, 2021, Nano Energy.
doi: 10.1016/j.nanoen.2021.105934

Contributors to this research from Penn State include postdoctoral scholars Tao Ye and Jungjin Yoon, and doctoral student Yuchen Hou.

Xiaorong Zhang, Shaanxi Normal University, China; Shengzhong Liu, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Congcong Wu, Hubei University, China; and Mohan Sanghadasa, the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. also participated in the research.

Naval Research Office Army Rapid Innovation Fund and the Air Force Scientific Research Office has provided funding for this research.

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