Advances in Novel Solar Energy Nanomaterials and Technical Applications

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991). This special issue belongs to the section "Solar Energy and Solar Cells".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 March 2024) | Viewed by 8831

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. Department of Materials Science, School of Science and Technology, NOVA University of Lisbon, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
2. Centre of Excellence in Microelectronics and Optoelectronics Processes of the Institute of New Technologies, CEMOP/UNINOVA, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
Interests: functional nanomaterials; paper electronics; advanced functional materials; thin film solar cells; nanotechnologies
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great pleasure that we invite you to submit your work to this Special Issue concerning “Advances in Solar Energy Nanomaterials and Technical Applications”.

Micro/nanostructured materials have played a fundamental role in the increase in photovoltaic solar cells’ efficiency in recent years. Examples are plasmonic enhancement, reflection enhancement, light scattering, and enhanced carrier collection efficiency, among others. One reason for this is that micro-/nanostructures are able to significantly enhance light harvesting in the near infrared or infrared region of the solar spectrum. On the other hand, the incorporation of nanoparticles in solar cells has led to the development of several novel concept cells that have a disruptive importance in the PV field, such as perovskite solar cells, quantum dot solar cells, intermediate band solar cells, epitaxial solar cells, nanowire solar cells, organic heterojunction solar cells, dye-sensitized solar cells, quantum dots, and up and down converters. Additionally, solution-processed solar cells incorporating nanostructures have allowed us to improve the performance of solar cells, as well as allowing cells to be made flexibe and be mass produced via roll to roll techniques.This Special Issue aims to be a comprehensive collection of works related to the improved performance of photovoltaic solar cells through the application of micro/nanostructures and micro/nanomaterials in solar cell fabrication. Therefore, we invite authors to contribute with original research articles and review articles covering the current progress in solar cells. Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • Quantum dot solar cells and photonic devices;
  • Perovskite solar cells and devices;
  • Dye-sensitized solar cells;
  • Nanowire solar cells;
  • Epitaxial solar cells;
  • Hybrid solar cells;
  • Thin film solar cells, including thin film silicon, and compond solar cells based on nanostructures;
  • Nanostructured crystalline silicon solar cells;
  • Litght-harvesting and -trapping enhancers;
  • Up and down converters;
  • Solution processed solar cells.

Prof. Dr. Rodrigo Martins
Dr. Hugo Aguas
Guest Editors

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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. Nanomaterials is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • photovolatics
  • solar cells
  • nanomaterials
  • nanostructures
  • light harvesting
  • light management
  • plasmonic
  • interface engineering
  • carrier multiplication

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

21 pages, 5029 KiB  
Article
Efficient and Stable Air-Processed Ternary Organic Solar Cells Incorporating Gallium-Porphyrin as an Electron Cascade Material
by Anastasia Soultati, Maria Verouti, Ermioni Polydorou, Konstantina-Kalliopi Armadorou, Zoi Georgiopoulou, Leonidas C. Palilis, Ioannis Karatasios, Vassilis Kilikoglou, Alexander Chroneos, Athanassios G. Coutsolelos, Panagiotis Argitis and Maria Vasilopoulou
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(20), 2800; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13202800 - 21 Oct 2023
Viewed by 957
Abstract
Two gallium porphyrins, a tetraphenyl GaCl porphyrin, termed as (TPP)GaCl, and an octaethylporphyrin GaCl porphyrin, termed as (OEP)GaCl, were synthesized to use as an electron cascade in ternary organic bulk heterojunction films. A perfect matching of both gallium porphyrins’ energy levels with that [...] Read more.
Two gallium porphyrins, a tetraphenyl GaCl porphyrin, termed as (TPP)GaCl, and an octaethylporphyrin GaCl porphyrin, termed as (OEP)GaCl, were synthesized to use as an electron cascade in ternary organic bulk heterojunction films. A perfect matching of both gallium porphyrins’ energy levels with that of poly(3-hexylthiophene-2,5-diyl) (P3HT) or poly[N-9′-heptadecanyl-2,7-carbazole-alt-5,5-(4′,7′-di-2-thienyl-2′,1′,3′-benzothiadiazole)] (PCDTBT) polymer donor and the 6,6-phenyl C71 butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) fullerene acceptor, forming an efficient cascade system that could facilitate electron transfer between donor and acceptor, was demonstrated. Therefore, ternary organic solar cells (OSCs) using the two porphyrins in various concentrations were fabricated where a performance enhancement was obtained. In particular, (TPP)GaCl-based ternary OSCs of low concentration (1:0.05 vv%) exhibited a ~17% increase in the power conversion efficiency (PCE) compared with the binary device due to improved exciton dissociation, electron transport and reduced recombination. On the other hand, ternary OSCs with a high concentration of (TPP)GaCl (1:0.1 vv%) and (OEP)GaCl (1:0.05 and 1:0.1 vv%) showed the poorest efficiencies due to very rough nanomorphology and suppressed crystallinity of ternary films when the GaCl porphyrin was introduced to the blend, as revealed from X-ray diffraction (XRD) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The best performing devices also exhibited improved photostability when exposed to sunlight illumination for a period of 8 h than the binary OSCs, attributed to the suppressed photodegradation of the ternary (TPP)GaCl 1:0.05-based photoactive film. Full article
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18 pages, 4082 KiB  
Article
Controlled Crystal Growth of All-Inorganic CsPbI2.2Br0.8 Thin Film via Additive Strategy for Air-Processed Efficient Outdoor/Indoor Perovskite Solar Cells
by Jitendra Bahadur, Jun Ryu, SungWon Cho, Saemon Yoon, Dong-Gun Lee, Dong-Won Kang and Padmini Pandey
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(19), 2716; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13192716 - 06 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1088
Abstract
The evolution of defects during perovskite film fabrication deteriorates the overall film quality and adversely affects the device efficiency of perovskite solar cells (PSCs). We endeavored to control the formation of defects by applying an additive engineering strategy using FABr, which retards the [...] Read more.
The evolution of defects during perovskite film fabrication deteriorates the overall film quality and adversely affects the device efficiency of perovskite solar cells (PSCs). We endeavored to control the formation of defects by applying an additive engineering strategy using FABr, which retards the crystal growth formation of CsPbI2.2Br0.8 perovskite by developing an intermediate phase at the initial stage. Improved crystalline and pinhole-free perovskite film with an optimal concentration of FABr-0.8M% additive was realized through crystallographic and microscopic analysis. Suppressed non-radiative recombination was observed through photoluminescence with an improved lifetime of 125 ns for FABr-0.8M% compared to the control film (83 ns). The champion device efficiency of 17.95% was attained for the FABr-0.8M% PSC, while 15.94% efficiency was achieved in the control PSC under air atmospheric conditions. Furthermore, an impressively high indoor performance of 31.22% was achieved for the FABr-0.8M% PSC under 3200 K (1000 lux) LED as compared to the control (23.15%). With a realistic approach of air processing and controlling the crystallization kinetics in wide-bandgap halide PSCs, this investigation paves the way for implementing additive engineering strategies to reduce defects in halide perovskites, which can further benefit efficiency enhancements in outdoor and indoor applications. Full article
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13 pages, 4620 KiB  
Article
Carrier Modulation via Tunnel Oxide Passivating at Buried Perovskite Interface for Stable Carbon-Based Solar Cells
by Yuqing Xiao, Huijie Zhang, Yue Zhao, Pei Liu, Kiran Kumar Kondamareddy and Changlei Wang
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(19), 2640; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13192640 - 26 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 717
Abstract
Carbon-based perovskite solar cells (C-PSCs) have the impressive characteristics of good stability and potential commercialization. The insulating layers play crucial roles in charge modulation at the buried perovskite interface in mesoporous C-PSCs. In this work, the effects of three different tunnel oxide layers [...] Read more.
Carbon-based perovskite solar cells (C-PSCs) have the impressive characteristics of good stability and potential commercialization. The insulating layers play crucial roles in charge modulation at the buried perovskite interface in mesoporous C-PSCs. In this work, the effects of three different tunnel oxide layers on the performance of air-processed C-PSCs are scrutinized to unveil the passivating quality. Devices with ZrO2-passivated TiO2 electron contacts exhibit higher power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) than their Al2O3 and SiO2 counterparts. The porous feature and robust chemical properties of ZrO2 ensure the high quality of the perovskite absorber, thus ensuring the high repeatability of our devices. An efficiency level of 14.96% puts our device among the state-of-the-art hole-conductor-free C-PSCs, and our unencapsulated device maintains 88.9% of its initial performance after 11,520 h (480 days) of ambient storage. These results demonstrate that the function of tunnel oxides at the perovskite/electron contact interface is important to manipulate the charge transfer dynamics that critically affect the performance and stability of C-PSCs. Full article
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12 pages, 4597 KiB  
Article
Towards All-Non-Vacuum-Processed Photovoltaic Systems: A Water-Based Screen-Printed Cu(In,Ga)Se2 Photoabsorber with a 6.6% Efficiency
by Bruna F. Gonçalves, Viviana Sousa, José Virtuoso, Evgeny Modin, Oleg I. Lebedev, Gabriela Botelho, Sascha Sadewasser, Laura M. Salonen, Senentxu Lanceros-Méndez and Yury V. Kolen’ko
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(13), 1920; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13131920 - 23 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1194
Abstract
During the last few decades, major advances have been made in photovoltaic systems based on Cu(In,Ga)Se2 chalcopyrite. However, the most efficient photovoltaic cells are processed under high-energy-demanding vacuum conditions. To lower the costs and facilitate high-throughput production, printing/coating processes are proving to [...] Read more.
During the last few decades, major advances have been made in photovoltaic systems based on Cu(In,Ga)Se2 chalcopyrite. However, the most efficient photovoltaic cells are processed under high-energy-demanding vacuum conditions. To lower the costs and facilitate high-throughput production, printing/coating processes are proving to be effective solutions. This work combined printing, coating, and chemical bath deposition processes of photoabsorber, buffer, and transparent conductive layers for the development of solution-processed photovoltaic systems. Using a sustainable approach, all inks were formulated using water and ethanol as solvents. Screen printing of the photoabsorber on fluorine-doped tin-oxide-coated glass followed by selenization, chemical bath deposition of the cadmium sulfide buffer, and final sputtering of the intrinsic zinc oxide and aluminum-doped zinc oxide top conductive layers delivered a 6.6% maximum efficiency solar cell, a record for screen-printed Cu(In,Ga)Se2 solar cells. On the other hand, the all-non-vacuum-processed device with spray-coated intrinsic zinc-oxide- and tin-doped indium oxide top conductive layers delivered a 2.2% efficiency. The given approaches represent relevant steps towards the fabrication of sustainable and efficient Cu(In,Ga)Se2 solar cells. Full article
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15 pages, 2031 KiB  
Article
Parylene-Sealed Perovskite Nanocrystals Down-Shifting Layer for Luminescent Spectral Matching in Thin Film Photovoltaics
by Ana Pinheiro, Andreia Ruivo, João Rocha, Marta Ferro, Joana Vaz Pinto, Jonas Deuermeier, Tiago Mateus, Ana Santa, Manuel J. Mendes, Rodrigo Martins, Sandra Gago, César A. T. Laia and Hugo Águas
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(1), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13010210 - 03 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2586
Abstract
The present contribution aims to enhance solar cells’ performance via the development of advanced luminescent down-shifting based on encapsulated nanostructured perovskite materials. Here, thin films of inorganic lead halide (CsPbBr3) perovskite nanocrystal luminophores were synthetized, by hot-injection, deposited on glass substrates [...] Read more.
The present contribution aims to enhance solar cells’ performance via the development of advanced luminescent down-shifting based on encapsulated nanostructured perovskite materials. Here, thin films of inorganic lead halide (CsPbBr3) perovskite nanocrystal luminophores were synthetized, by hot-injection, deposited on glass substrates by spin-coating, and encapsulated with parylene type C, via chemical vapor deposition, to protect and stabilize the films. The optical properties of these thin films were characterized by absorption, emission and 2D contour spectra, their structure by X-ray diffraction and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and the morphology by Scanning Transmission Electron microscopy. I–V curve and spectral response nanocrystalline silicon photovoltaic (nc-Si:H PV) cells were studied in the absence and presence of the perovskite and parylene luminescent down-shifting layers. The incorporation of the CsPbBr3 nanocrystals and their encapsulation with the parylene type C polymeric coating led to an increase in the current generated and the spectral response of the PV cells in the regime of the nanocrystals’ fluorescence emission. A 3.1% increase in the short circuit current density and a 5.6% increase in the power conversion efficiency were observed. Full article
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11 pages, 3064 KiB  
Article
Ultra-Broadband Perfect Absorber based on Titanium Nanoarrays for Harvesting Solar Energy
by Didi Song, Kaihua Zhang, Mengdan Qian, Yufang Liu, Xiaohu Wu and Kun Yu
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(1), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13010091 - 24 Dec 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1706
Abstract
Solar energy is a clean and renewable energy source and solves today’s energy and climate emergency. Near-perfect broadband solar absorbers can offer necessary technical assistance to follow this route and develop an effective solar energy-harvesting system. In this work, the metamaterial perfect absorber [...] Read more.
Solar energy is a clean and renewable energy source and solves today’s energy and climate emergency. Near-perfect broadband solar absorbers can offer necessary technical assistance to follow this route and develop an effective solar energy-harvesting system. In this work, the metamaterial perfect absorber operating in the ultraviolet to the near-infrared spectral range was designed, consisting of a periodically aligned titanium (Ti) nanoarray coupled to an optical cavity. Through numerical simulations, the average absorption efficiency of the optimal parameter absorber can reach up to 99.84% in the 200–3000 nm broadband range. We show that the Ti pyramid’s localized surface plasmon resonances, the intrinsic loss of the Ti material, and the coupling of resonance modes between two neighboring pyramids are highly responsible for this broadband perfect absorption effect. Additionally, we demonstrate that the absorber exhibits some excellent features desirable for the practical absorption and harvesting of solar energy, such as precision tolerance, polarization independence, and large angular acceptance. Full article
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