Thin Film Deposition for Photovoltaic Research with Perovskite Materials

Metal halide perovskites, which share a crystal structure of an abundant earth mineral first discovered in the Ural mountains in 1839, are a materials family that has come to the forefront of photovoltaic research. Silicon is still the active layer of a majority of currently installed photovoltaic systems, but concerns over its environmental impact, its fabrication costs and its scalability, have led researchers to seek out alternative high performance materials, such as perovskites, to create solar cells.

The exceptional light absorption and charge transport properties of perovskites have made them an extremely attractive material for solar cell research. The power conversion efficiency of perovskite solar cells has increased from around 9% in 2012 to over 20% in 2016.

Flexible substrate thin film solar perovskite cell

Many researchers around the world are working hard at making these solar cells more efficient and more stable so that they can be deployed in the field, either as a substitute to or as a complement to silicon solar cells.

Finding the perfect perovskite architecture

The architecture of perovskite solar cells has evolved from the initial reports of perovskites as the light-sensitive dye in dye-sensitized solar cells to a planar thin film stack where the perovskite is a continuous layer between the charge collecting electrodes. One of the first performance breakthroughs came about when it was discovered that the perovskite layer could be synthesized using the dual thermal evaporation of its two precursor materials, forming a planar structure on top of the electron-transport material. This is seen as a promising way to effectively mass-produce perovskite solar cells.

A variety of work is being done in the field of thin film perovskite solar cell research. This material is being used in tandem with other established thin film solar cell materials to boost their collective efficiency, and some perovskites layers have been shown to improve the efficiency of traditional silicon cells as well. With the large number of scientists and engineers working on perovskite research, breakthroughs are happening on a regular basis.

Angstrom Engineering Systems are ideal for perovskite research

We are in the exciting days of perovskite photovoltaic research, and Angstrom Engineering is proud to play a part in helping scientists and researchers create more efficient solar cells using perovskite materials. Some of our customers deposit perovskite precursors such as lead iodide, lead chloride, and methylammonium iodide using resistive thermal evaporation or a temperature-controlled furnace. We can integrate these sources and configure the system so that the metal precursor can be co-deposited with the organic precursor.

Glove box integrated thin film solar work station connected to physical vapor deposition pvd chambers for perovskite research

Using the autotuning feature of our AERES control software, the deposition control parameters of these sources can be determined automatically, reducing optimization time. The substrate stage can also be heated during or after deposition, allowing you to explore different crystallization conditions.

ITO and TiO2 can be easily sputtered using our deposition systems, and sintered in-situ using a stage heater. Contact metals like silver, aluminum, and gold can be deposited using either resistive thermal evaporation, electron-beam evaporation, or a combination of both methods in the same chamber. We can include the sources required for all the evaporated layers of the perovskite device into a single chamber, or split them up between multiple chambers connected together through a glovebox or through load-lock chambers for in-vacuum transfer. The possibilities are endless and we can configure a system or collection of systems that suit your goals. If you would like to discuss your specific strategy with one of our experienced engineers, we would love to discuss it.

Please get in touch and we can collaborate on your project

What type of perovskite research do you plan to do? What technical obstacles can our engineering team help you overcome? Please press the ‘Get in Touch’ button to get in contact with us, we’d be excited to hear about your research and help you in any way we can.

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