In recent years, perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have been intensively studied. The certified power conversion efficiency of PSCs has exceeded 25%, approaching the record efficiency of dominant Si photovoltaics (PV) technology. Despite high efficiency on cell level, commercialization of PSCs will only be successful when large area and reliable modules can be fabricated.
Commonly, solution processing is used for the deposition of the perovskite photo active as well as some adjacent layers. However, limited reproducibility when going to larger areas (>100cm2) and use of volatile solvents hamper the industrial uptake of such processes. There's nowadays a growing interest to explore vacuum thermal evaporation as scalable deposition technique, which we have also initiated recently in our facilities, obtaining already >17% solar cell efficiency.
You will further develop this process with co-evaporation of multiple precursor compounds to establish high-performing photo-active perovskite layers with high uniformity and reproducibility. Appropriate characterization (optical, morphological ...) will be carried out to relate the impact of process parameters with the layer quality.
These photo-active layers will subsequently be integrated in full functional solar cells, of which the performance and stability will be compared with solution processed counterparts. Mono-stress (thermal and light soak) as well as damp-heat testing, in combination with imaging techniques, will reveal degradation mechanisms for which mitigation strategies need to be developed.
Moving from cells to larger area modules, interconnection processes based on laser ablation will be developed and compared. Next to conventional interconnection, the novel back-end technique is under investigation. With either type of interconnection techniques also on module level stress tests will be carried out to identify the degradation mechanisms potentially induced by the interconnections.
Finally, the evaporation process will also enable the fabrication of tandem cells whereby the perovskite cell is deposited on top of a crystalline silicon cell, boosting the performance of the latter potentially beyond 30%.
The project will be conducted in an interdisciplinary and multicultural team of highly skilled scientists and engineers that work towards the next generation of PV technology. The research will be developed in the newly built laboratories at EnergyVille, Genk, working in one of the world's premier research centers in nanotechnology.
Required background: Engineering science
Type of work: 80% experimental, 20% literature
Supervisor: Jef Poortmans
Daily advisor: Tom Aernouts, Yinghuan Kuang
The reference code for this position is 2020-066. Mention this reference code on your application form.
Chinese nationals who wish to apply for the CSC scholarship, should use the following code when applying for this topic: CSC2020-28.