Moving perovskite solar cells into commercial production is the focus of many of the world’s leading research institutions, which have many different approaches, materials and processes to evaluate and work on.
Many of these approaches use variations in slot coating – a process that has been proven in several other industries, where liquid is coated onto the substrate through thin slots positioned close to the substrate, to store the layers needed for solar cells. Others have seen the inkjet printing process. The die slot layer is said to be faster and more effective in ensuring uniform coating thickness.
The process, developed by EMPA, works in conjunction with the Swiss company Solaronix, storing layers using slot coatings, and then arranging layers, removing excess material with a laser. This allows greater flexibility in determining layer thickness, according to Frank Nüesch, head of the EMPA functional polymer department.
EMPA also notes that with the slot die coating process, four of the five cell layers (graphite, titanium oxide, zirconium, and conductive oxide) can all be applied one by one, further advantages of the inkjet process, which requires each layer to be dried individually. and compacted before it is applied. The Perovskite absorber is then applied using the inkjet process, and seeps through the porous cell layer downward.
As proof of concept for the process, the laboratory has produced perovskite solar cells that function with a surface area of 10x10cm. EMPA claims the cells produced using the process boast “a longer service life compared to previous perovskite cells,” and say they have plans to prove this in field testing, with plans to install a cell test arrangement on the roof of a house on its campus in Dübendorf, Switzerland .
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