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Advances in Photovoltaic Materials and Devices: Preparation, Characterization and Properties

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 October 2024 | Viewed by 4698

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Departamento de Física, Instituto de Materiales y Nanotecnología, Universidad de La Laguna, 38200 La Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Interests: solar cells; down-shifters; optical anisotropy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

New materials or new production methods for photovoltaics have been studied in recent years. Materials used in photovoltaic devices are usually based on crystalline film technology, such as silicon (monocrystalline, polycrystalline or amorphous) and gallium arsenide. Second-generation photovoltaic solar cells use thin-film technologies by reducing the material quantity and are based on copper indium gallium selenide, cadmium telluride and copper zinc tin sulfide. Third-generation photovoltaics introduce novel materials such as perovskites with new techniques improving device efficiency via thin-layer deposition obtaining dye-sensitized solar cells, organic solar cells, quantum dot cells and multi-junction cells. Another attractive line of research is improving the short wavelength response using luminescent down-shifting (DS) and down-converting (DC) layers. Another solution to enhance performance is to integrate the PV cell with an upconverting (UC) component capable of harvesting lower energy photons in the infrared (IR) range and emitting visible light. We would like to invite contributions on the topic of this Special Issue. The topics of interest for publication include but are not limited to the following:

  • First-, second- and third-generation photovoltaic cells.
  • Production methods for PV technology: wafering, etching, diffusion, ion implantation, atomic layer deposition, antireflective coating, metallization, testing.
  • Characterization techniques: microwave photoconductance decay (MWPCD), quasi-steady-state photoconductance (QSSPC), external quantum efficiency (EQE), intensity–voltage (IV) curves, luminescence.
  • Synthesis and structure of luminescent complexes.
  • Photoluminescence measurements.
  • Photophysical properties.

Prof. Dr. Cecilio Hernández Rodríguez
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • photovoltaics
  • energy conversion
  • solar cells

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 5255 KiB  
Article
Optimizing Alkyl Side Chains in Difluorobenzene–Rhodanine Small-Molecule Acceptors for Organic Solar Cells
by Jongchan Choi, Chang Eun Song and Eunhee Lim
Materials 2024, 17(8), 1875; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17081875 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 626
Abstract
A series of small molecules, T-2FB-T-ORH, T-2FB-T-BORH, and T-2FB-T-HDRH, were synthesized to have a thiophene-flanked difluorobenzene (T-2FB-T) core and alkyl-substituted rhodanine (RH) end groups for their use as nonfullerene acceptors (NFAs) in organic solar cells (OSCs). Octyl, 2-butyloctyl (BO), and [...] Read more.
A series of small molecules, T-2FB-T-ORH, T-2FB-T-BORH, and T-2FB-T-HDRH, were synthesized to have a thiophene-flanked difluorobenzene (T-2FB-T) core and alkyl-substituted rhodanine (RH) end groups for their use as nonfullerene acceptors (NFAs) in organic solar cells (OSCs). Octyl, 2-butyloctyl (BO), and 2-hexyldecyl (HD) alkyl side chains were introduced into RHs to control the material’s physical properties based on the length and size of the alkyl chains. The optical properties of the three NFAs were found to be almost the same, irrespective of the alkyl chain length, whereas the molecular crystallinity and material solubility significantly differed depending on the alkyl side chains. Owing to the sufficient solubility of T-2FB-T-HDRH, OSCs based on PTB7-Th and T-2FB-T-HDRH were fabricated. A power conversion efficiency of up to 4.49% was obtained by solvent vapor annealing (SVA). The AFM study revealed that improved charge mobility and a smooth and homogeneous film morphology without excessive aggregation could be obtained in the SVA-treated film. Full article
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14 pages, 2643 KiB  
Article
Recycled or Bio-Based Solvents for the Synthesis of ZnO Nanoparticles: Characterization and Validation in Organic Solar Cells
by Cristiano Albonetti, Riva Alkarsifi, Virginie El Qacemi, Benjamin Dhuiege, Giampiero Ruani and Mirko Seri
Materials 2024, 17(6), 1332; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17061332 - 14 Mar 2024
Viewed by 660
Abstract
Among solution-processable metal oxides, zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticle inks are widely used in inverted organic solar cells for the preparation, at relatively low temperatures (<120 °C), of highly efficient electron-transporting layers. There is, however, a recent interest to develop more sustainable and less [...] Read more.
Among solution-processable metal oxides, zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticle inks are widely used in inverted organic solar cells for the preparation, at relatively low temperatures (<120 °C), of highly efficient electron-transporting layers. There is, however, a recent interest to develop more sustainable and less impacting methods/strategies for the preparation of ZnO NPs with controlled properties and improved performance. To this end, we report here the synthesis and characterization of ZnO NPs obtained using alternative reaction solvents derived from renewable or recycled sources. In detail, we use (i) recycled methanol (r-MeOH) to close the loop and minimize wastes or (ii) bioethanol (b-EtOH) to prove the effectiveness of a bio-based solvent. The effect of r-MeOH and b-EtOH on the optical, morphological, and electronic properties of the resulting ZnO NPs, both in solution and thin-films, is investigated, discussed, and compared to an analogous reference material. Moreover, to validate the properties of the resulting materials, we have prepared PTB7:PC71BM-based solar cells containing the different ZnO NPs as a cathode interlayer. Power conversion efficiencies comparable to the reference system (≈7%) were obtained, validating the proposed alternative and more sustainable approach. Full article
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11 pages, 1929 KiB  
Article
Impact of Nitroxyl Radicals on Photovoltaic Conversion Properties of Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
by Ichiro Imae, Ryosuke Akazawa and Yutaka Harima
Materials 2024, 17(1), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17010077 - 23 Dec 2023
Viewed by 675
Abstract
Nitroxyl radicals, characterized by unique redox properties, have been investigated for their potential influence on the photovoltaic conversion properties of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). In this study, we investigated the influence of nitroxyl radicals as donor sites in DSSCs. We observed that the [...] Read more.
Nitroxyl radicals, characterized by unique redox properties, have been investigated for their potential influence on the photovoltaic conversion properties of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). In this study, we investigated the influence of nitroxyl radicals as donor sites in DSSCs. We observed that the redox activity of nitroxyl radicals significantly enhanced the photovoltaic conversion efficiency of DSSCs; this finding can offer new insights into the application of these radicals in solar energy conversion. Furthermore, we found that increasing the proportion of nitroxyl radicals improved the DSSC performance. Through a combination of experimental and analytical approaches, we elucidated the mechanism underlying this enhancement and highlighted the potential for more efficient DSSCs using nitroxyl radicals as key components. These findings provide new avenues for developing advanced DSSCs with improved performances and sustainability. Full article
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17 pages, 3769 KiB  
Article
Numerical Simulation of an Inverted Perovskite Solar Cell Using a SiOx Layer as Down-Conversion Energy Material to Improve Efficiency and Stability
by Ezequiel Paz Totolhua, Jesús Carrillo López, Alfredo Benítez Lara, Karim Monfil Leyva, Ana C. Piñón Reyes, Javier Flores-Méndez and José Alberto Luna López
Materials 2023, 16(23), 7445; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16237445 - 30 Nov 2023
Viewed by 908
Abstract
Inverted perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have gained much attention due to their low hysteresis effect, easy fabrication, and good stability. In this research, an inverted perovskite solar cell ITO/PEDOT:PSS/CH3NH3PbI3/PCBM/Ag structure was simulated and optimized using SCAPS-1D version [...] Read more.
Inverted perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have gained much attention due to their low hysteresis effect, easy fabrication, and good stability. In this research, an inverted perovskite solar cell ITO/PEDOT:PSS/CH3NH3PbI3/PCBM/Ag structure was simulated and optimized using SCAPS-1D version 3.3.10 software. The influence on the device of parameters, including perovskite thickness, total defect density, series and shunt resistances, and operating temperature, are discussed and analyzed. With optimized parameters, the efficiency increased from 13.47% to 18.33%. Then, a new SiOx/ITO/PEDOT:PSS/CH3NH3PbI3/PCBM/Ag device was proposed which includes a silicon-rich oxide (SiOx) layer. This material was used as the down-conversion energy material, which converts high-energy photons (ultraviolet UV light) into low-energy photons (visible light), improving the stability and absorption of the device. Finally, with SiOx, we obtained an efficiency of 22.46% in the simulation. Therefore, the device with the SiOx layer is the most suitable as it has better values for current density–voltage output and quantum efficiency than the device without SiOx. Full article
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31 pages, 16267 KiB  
Article
Exploring Ln(III)-Ion-Based Luminescent Species as Down-Shifters for Photovoltaic Solar Cells
by Gabriela Brito-Santos, Cecilio Hernández-Rodríguez, Beatriz Gil-Hernández, Joaquín Sanchiz, Inocencio R. Martín, Benjamín González-Díaz and Ricardo Guerrero-Lemus
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5068; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145068 - 18 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1024
Abstract
In this work, we have compiled our research on lanthanide-based luminescent materials for use as down-shifter layers in photovoltaic (PV) mini-modules. The complexes we have prepared (C1–17), with formulas [Eu2(phen)2(bz)6] (C1), [Eu2(bphen)2(bz)6 [...] Read more.
In this work, we have compiled our research on lanthanide-based luminescent materials for use as down-shifter layers in photovoltaic (PV) mini-modules. The complexes we have prepared (C1–17), with formulas [Eu2(phen)2(bz)6] (C1), [Eu2(bphen)2(bz)6] (C2), [Eu(tta)3bphen] (C3), [Eu(bta)3pyz-phen] (C4), [Eu(tta)3pyz-phen] (C5), [Eu(bta)3me-phen] (C6), [Er(bta)3me-phen] (C7), [Yb(bta)3me-phen] (C8), [Gd(bta)3me-phen] (C9), [Yb(bta)3pyz-phen] (C10), [Er(tta)3pyz-phen] (C11), [Eu2(bz)4(tta)2(phen)2] (C12), [Gd2(bz)4(tta)2(phen)2] (C13), [EuTb(bz)4(tta)2(phen)2] (C14), [EuGd(bz)4(tta)2(phen)2] (C15), [Eu1.2Gd0.8(bz)4(tta)2(phen)2] (C16), and [Eu1.6Gd0.4(bz)4(tta)2(phen)2] (C17), can be grouped into three families based on their composition: Complexes C1–6 were synthesized using Eu3+ ions and phenanthroline derivatives as the neutral ligands and fluorinated β-diketonates as the anionic ligands. Complexes C7–11 were prepared with ligands similar to those of complexes C1–6 but were synthesized with Er3+, Yb3+, or Gd3+ ions. Complexes C12–17 have the general formula [M1M2(bz)4(tta)2(phen)2], where M1 and M2 can be Eu3+, Gd3+, or Tb3+ ions, and the ligands were benzoate (bz), 2-thenoyltrifluoroacetone (tta), and 1,10–phenanthroline (phen). Most of the complexes were characterized using X-ray techniques, and their photoluminescent properties were studied. We then assessed the impact of complexes in the C1–6 and C12–17 series on the EQE of PV mini-modules and examined the durability of one of the complexes (C6) in a climate chamber when embedded in PMMA and EVA films. This study emphasizes the methodology employed and the key findings, including enhanced mini-module efficiency. Additionally, we present promising results on the application of complex C6 in a bifacial solar cell. Full article
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