Proc. SPIE. 9923, Physical Chemistry of Interfaces and Nanomaterials XV
KEYWORDS: Semiconductors, Atomic, molecular, and optical physics, Solar concentrators, External quantum efficiency, Solar cells, Clouds, Silicon solar cells, Electronic circuits, Organic semiconductors, Tandem solar cells
Current matching limits the commercialization of tandem solar cells due to their instability over spectral changes, leading to the need of using solar concentrators and trackers to keep the spectrum stable. We demonstrate that voltage-matched systems show far higher performance over spectral changes; caused by clouds, dust and other variations in atmospheric conditions.
Singlet fission is a process in organic semiconductors which has shown very efficient, 200%, down-conversion yield and the generated excitations are long-lived, ideal for solar cells. As a result, the number of publications has grown exponentially in the past 5 years. Yet, so far no one has achieved to combine singlet fission with most low bandgap semiconductors, including crystalline silicon, the dominating solar cell material with a 90% share of the PV Market.
Here we show that singlet fission can facilitate the fabrication of voltage-matched systems, opening a simple design route for the effective implementation of down-conversion in commercially available photovoltaic technologies, with no modification of the electronic circuitry of such.
The implemention of singlet fission is achieved simply by decoupling the fabrication of the individual subcells. For this demonstration we used an ITO/PEDOT/P3HT/Pentacene/C60/Ag wide-bandgap subcell, and a commercial silicon solar cell as the low-bandgap component. We show that the combination of the two leads to the first tandem silicon solar cell which exceeds 100% external quantum efficiency.
We mapped the propagation of photogenerated luminescence and charges from a local photoexcitation spot in thin films of lead tri-iodide perovskites using a confocal microscopy setup with independent excitation and collection objectives. We observed regenerated PL emission at distances as far as 50 micrometers away from photoexcitation. We then made a scratch in the film to increase out-scattering and found that the peak of the internal photon spectrum red-shifts from 765 to ≥800 nanometers. This is caused by the sharp decay of the absorption coefficient at the band tail, which allows longer wavelength photons to travel further between emission and absorption events, originating charges far from excitation.
We then built a lateral-contact solar cell with selective electron- and hole-collecting contacts, using a combination of photolitography and electrodeposition. We used these devices as a platform to study photocurrent propagation and found that charge extraction can be achieved well beyond 50 micrometers away from the excitation.
We connect these two observations by comparing the decay in intensity of the recycled component of the PL (which is around 765 nm) with the decay in photocurrent. Taking into account that PL is proportional to the square of charge density, whilst photocurrent is proportional to charge density.
Photon recycling leads to an increase in internal photon densities, which leads to a build-up of excited charges. This increases the split of quasi-Fermi levels and enhances the achievable open circuit voltage in a solar cell.