Lecture 15 - application of solid state materials solar cells and photovoltaics. Copying Nature... Anoxygenic photosynthesis in purple bacteria

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1 Lecture 15 - application of solid state materials solar cells and photovoltaics. Copying Nature... Anoxygenic photosynthesis in purple bacteria Simple example, but still complicated... Photosynthesis is also inefficent.

2

3 Its all about the energy levels... funneling electrons

4 Solar energy conversion is all about; 1: Generating either excitons or electrons/holes 2: Separating the charge carriers 3: Extracting these to an external circuit Recall from earlier lecture that a semiconductor has a band gap and we can excite An electron across the band gap, leaving a hole and an electron. Few PV devices exceed 19 % efficiency.

5 Also recall we can add impurities (dopants) to alter the conductivity of the semiconductor

6

7 What happens when you combine n and p type doped materials? The p-n junction pn junction large amount of mobile holes on the p side, electrons on the n side.

8 In terms of the energy diagram E n type lots of free electrons P type - lots of free holes

9 - Holes diffuse across to the n side, electrons to the p side. E Electrons and holes recombine, cancelling each other out

10 E As a result, we have a depletion zone no moving charge Leaving behind positively charged P ions and negatively charged B ions

11 +vecharged P atoms that repels holes E -vecharged B atoms that repel electrons Any electrons that wander into the depletion zone only see electrons provided By the dopants on the p side (blue box) and are therefore repelled. Likewise any holes That wander into the depletion zone see hole supplied by the n type dopant (red box) Nb dopants are held in the lattice and cannot move.

12 This results in band bending E This increase in negative charge on the p type of the junction means electrons need more energy to cross over. Remember holes are the opposite of electrons (think balloons banging on a ceiling) and therefore an energy barrier also exists for them to cross to the n side too.

13 What happens when we shine light on it? pn junction solar cell. e h If the energy provide can excite the electron across the band gap, charges created at the Junction are separated by the bent bands wiring this up to an external circuit allows the charge carriers to recombine producing a current.

14 Organic (plastic) solar cells Some polymers are semiconducting - Alternating multiple bonds give a band structure

15 Simple bilayer device

16 Buffer layer = another conjugated polymer at either/both anode and cathode to help collect and extract charge. Optional, but help make cells efficient.

17 Dye sensitised solar cells (excitonic solar cells or Gratzel cells)

18 All about the position of energy levels

19

20 Key part still driven by chemistry

21 What are the dyes?

22 All chemistry driven -Dyes must have correct energy levels -Redox mediator must be able to channel charge. -Nanoparticle TiO 2 correct band gap/alignment with dye and electrodes and surface area. - Very easy to make - relatively efficient - increase in temperature increases - Efficiency, unlike Si cells which need Protection BUT - uses liquid redox mediator (doesn't work when frozen) - Ru dyes expensive. N-3 dye

23 Gratzel cell reactions

24 QD solar cells

25 So why use quantum dots? Termed carrier multiplication or multiple exciton generation

26 7 % efficient QD solar cells using PbS based particles

27

28

29 Perovskite based solar cells. - Originally a development of Gratzel cells - Based on CaTiO 3, usually shown as ABX 3 as a replacement for Ru based dyes. - CH 3 NH 3 PbX 3, where X is Cl -, Br - or I - (methylammonium lead trihalide) Hole transport - Semiconductor with band gap between 1.6 and 2.3 ev, depending on halide % efficient.

30 2012 breakthrough year (Science 2012, 338, 643) - don't necessarily need TiO 2 - replace with wide band gap inert Al 2 O 3 as scaffold - 11 % efficient. Forces electrons to reside and be transported in perovskite

31 Why are perovskite solar cells good? - We really don't know the full details!!!! - Cheap and simple to make - Long diffusion lengths (1 µm compared to 10 nm in other devices) of electrons and holes -Makes charge transport easier. - Exciton binding energy so low that electrons and hole exist as free carriers at room temperature. BUT limited by stability CH 3 NH 3 PbI 3 + O 2 - CH 3 NH 2 + PbI 2 + ½I 2 +H 2 O Superoxide radical generated

32 Updated efficiency chart to take into account perovskites 24 % efficiency in perovskites reported but unconfirmed (2014).

33 The Golden Triangle Home energy renovation opportunity, USA

34 DSSC now becoming a commercial reality EPFL

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