/Unravelling degradation pathways of thin-film perovskite modules

Unravelling degradation pathways of thin-film perovskite modules

PhD - Genk | More than two weeks ago

Long live the perovskite module

Perovskite solar cells (PSCs) are becoming a hype! These solar tech wonders are not just for big power plants anymore. They are popping up in cool places like building facades, car roofs, tiny gadgets, wearables, and even bendy fabrics and plastic sheets. And guess what? They're as efficient as those ‘traditional’ solar technologies like silicon, CIGS, and CdTe. PSCs are the key to making cheap multi-junction solar cells that can hit efficiency levels above 30%. Plus, the way you can lay down perovskite layers gives you the freedom to make some cool designs and shapes for your solar modules. It's like a whole new world of solar power!


So, if we want to take perovskite solar cells to mass production, we will have to keep a close eye on two things: making those modules bigger and keeping them rock-solid in performance. Some of the methods that worked for small-scale devices just don’t when we are going big. And when we switch to these high-speed production methods, it can mess with the perovskite properties. So, we must really understand how these modules behave in the long run when using these industrial methods.


Now, we can't just stick these modules outside and wait forever to see how they do. That is a slow game. So, we will come up with some speedy tests that will tell us how long they will last under stress. We call it the 'lifetime acceleration factor' - basically, how much faster stuff breaks when we put it through extreme conditions. To do this right, we need know all the ways these modules can break. We will start with simple tests, like heating as if they were in the Greek summer or exposing them to reverse bias as when a cloud is shading them. We will also use fancy imaging tricks to see what is falling apart.


We will also run tests that mimic real-life conditions, like the ones one could find in the IEC standards. To be extra sure, we will also make up some special tests of our own. Finally, we will compare all this lab results with what happens when the modules are outside. That way, we will know if our accelerated tests are telling us the real story.


The project will run in an interdisciplinary and multicultural team of highly skilled scientists and engineers that work towards the next generation of PV technology. The research will happen in the newly built laboratories at EnergyVille, Genk, working in one of the world’s premier research centers in nanotechnology.

Required background: Master in Engineering Technology, Master in Physics

Type of work: 70% experimental, 15% modeling, 15% literature

Supervisor: Michael Daenen

Co-supervisor: Jef Poortmans

Daily advisor: Aranzazu Aguirre

The reference code for this position is 2024-103. Mention this reference code on your application form.

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