Publications

2020

Figure 4 of Caprioglio Advanced Energy Materials 2020
Source: The Authors

P. Caprioglio, C. M. Wolff, O. J. Sandberg, A. Armin, B. Rech, S. Albrecht, D. Neher, M. Stolterfoht, “On the Origin of the Ideality Factor in Perovskite Solar Cells”, Advanced Energy Materials 10, 2000502 (2020), DOI: 10.1002/aenm.202000502

The measurement of the ideality factor (nid) is a popular tool to infer the dominant recombination type in perovskite solar cells (PSC). However, the true meaning of its values is often misinterpreted in complex multilayered devices such as PSC. In this work, the effects of bulk and interface recombination on the nid are investigated experimentally and theoretically. By coupling intensity-dependent quasi-Fermi level splitting measurements with drift diffusion simulations of complete devices and partial cell stacks, it is shown that interfacial recombination leads to a lower nid compared to Shockley–Read–Hall (SRH) recombination in the bulk. As such, the strongest recombination channel determines the nid of the complete cell. An analytical approach is used to rationalize that nid values between 1 and 2 can originate exclusively from a single recombination process. By expanding the study over a wide range of the interfacial energy offsets and interfacial recombination velocities, it is shown that an ideality factor of nearly 1 is usually indicative of strong first-order non-radiative interface recombination and that it correlates with a lower device performance. It is only when interface recombination is largely suppressed and bulk SRH recombination dominates that a small nid is again desirable.

Figure 4 of Caprioglio Advanced Energy Materials 2020
Source: The Authors
Figure 5 of Wang Solar RRL 2020
Source: The Authors

Q. Wang, J. A. Smith, D. Skroblin, J. A. Steele, C. M. Wolff, P. Caprioglio, M. Stolterfoht, H. Köbler, M. Li, S.-H. Turren-Cruz, C. Gollwitzer, D. Neher, A. Abate, “Managing Phase Purities and Crystal Orientation for High‐Performance and Photostable Cesium Lead Halide Perovskite Solar Cells”, Solar RRL 4, 2000213 (2020), DOI: 10.1002/solr.202000213

Inorganic perovskites with cesium (Cs+) as the cation have great potential as photovoltaic materials if their phase purity and stability can be addressed. Herein, a series of inorganic perovskites is studied, and it is found that the power conversion efficiency of solar cells with compositions CsPbI1.8Br1.2, CsPbI2.0Br1.0, and CsPbI2.2Br0.8 exhibits a high dependence on the initial annealing step that is found to significantly affect the crystallization and texture behavior of the final perovskite film. At its optimized annealing temperature, CsPbI1.8Br1.2 exhibits a pure orthorhombic phase and only one crystal orientation of the (110) plane. Consequently, this allows for the best efficiency of up to 14.6% and the longest operational lifetime, TS80, of ≈300 h, averaged of over six solar cells, during the maximum power point tracking measurement under continuous light illumination and nitrogen atmosphere. This work provides essential progress on the enhancement of photovoltaic performance and stability of CsPbI3 − xBrx perovskite solar cells.

Figure 5 of Wang Solar RRL 2020
Source: The Authors
Figure 2 of Schulze Solar RRL 2020
Source: The Authors

P. S. C. Schulze, A. J. Bett, M. Bivour, P. Caprioglio, F. M. Gerspacher, Ö. Ş. Kabaklı, A. Richter, M. Stolterfoht, Q. Zhang, D. Neher, M. Hermle, H. Hillebrecht, S. W. Glunz, J. C. Goldschmidt, “25.1% High‐Efficiency Monolithic Perovskite Silicon Tandem Solar Cell with a High Bandgap Perovskite Absorber”, Solar RRL 4, 2000152 (2020), DOI: 10.1002/solr.202000152

Monolithic perovskite silicon tandem solar cells can overcome the theoretical efficiency limit of silicon solar cells. This requires an optimum bandgap, high quantum efficiency, and high stability of the perovskite. Herein, a silicon heterojunction bottom cell is combined with a perovskite top cell, with an optimum bandgap of 1.68 eV in planar p–i–n tandem configuration. A methylammonium-free FA0.75Cs0.25Pb(I0.8Br0.2)3 perovskite with high Cs content is investigated for improved stability. A 10% molarity increase to 1.1 m of the perovskite precursor solution results in ≈75 nm thicker absorber layers and 0.7 mA cm−2 higher short-circuit current density. With the optimized absorber, tandem devices reach a high fill factor of 80% and up to 25.1% certified efficiency. The unencapsulated tandem device shows an efficiency improvement of 2.3% (absolute) over 5 months, showing the robustness of the absorber against degradation. Moreover, a photoluminescence quantum yield analysis reveals that with adapted charge transport materials and surface passivation, along with improved antireflection measures, the high bandgap perovskite absorber has the potential for 30% tandem efficiency in the near future.

Figure 2 of Schulze Solar RRL 2020
Source: The Authors
Graphical Abstract for Zu RSC Advances 2020
Source: The Authors

F. Zu, T. Schultz, C. M. Wolff, D. Shin, L. Frohloff, D. Neher, P. Amsalem, N. Koch, “Position-locking of volatile reaction products by atmosphere and capping layers slows down photodecomposition of methylammonium lead triiodide perovskite”, RSC Advances 10, 17534–17542 (2020), DOI: 10.1039/D0RA03572F

The remarkable progress of metal halide perovskites in photovoltaics has led to the power conversion efficiency approaching 26%. However, practical applications of perovskite-based solar cells are challenged by the stability issues, of which the most critical one is photo-induced degradation. Bare CH3NH3PbI3 perovskite films are known to decompose rapidly, with methylammonium and iodine as volatile species and residual solid PbI2 and metallic Pb, under vacuum under white light illumination, on the timescale of minutes. We find, in agreement with previous work, that the degradation is non-uniform and proceeds predominantly from the surface, and that illumination under N2 and ambient air (relative humidity 20%) does not induce substantial degradation even after several hours. Yet, in all cases the release of iodine from the perovskite surface is directly identified by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. This goes in hand with a loss of organic cations and the formation of metallic Pb. When CH3NH3PbI3 films are covered with a few nm thick organic capping layer, either charge selective or non-selective, the rapid photodecomposition process under ultrahigh vacuum is reduced by more than one order of magnitude, and becomes similar in timescale to that under N2 or air. We conclude that the light-induced decomposition reaction of CH3NH3PbI3, leading to volatile methylammonium and iodine, is largely reversible as long as these products are restrained from leaving the surface. This is readily achieved by ambient atmospheric pressure, as well as a thin organic capping layer even under ultrahigh vacuum. In addition to explaining the impact of gas pressure on the stability of this perovskite, our results indicate that covalently “locking” the position of perovskite components at the surface or an interface should enhance the overall photostability.

Graphical Abstract for Zu RSC Advances 2020
Source: The Authors
Graphical Abstract for Tokmoldin J Mater Chem A 2020
Source: The Authors

N. Tokmoldin, S. M. Hosseini, M. Raoufi, L. Q. Phuong, O. J. Sandberg, H. Guan, Y. Zou, D. Neher, S. Shoaee, “Extraordinarily long diffusion length in PM6:Y6 organic solar cells”, Journal of Materials Chemistry A 8, 7854–7860 (2020), DOI: 10.1039/D0TA03016C

The PM6:Y6 bulk-heterojunction (BHJ) blend system achieves high short-circuit current (JSC) values in thick photovoltaic junctions. Here we analyse these solar cells to understand the observed independence of the short-circuit current upon photoactive layer thickness. We employ a range of optoelectronic measurements and analyses, including Mott–Schottky analysis, CELIV, photoinduced absorption spectroscopy, mobility measurements and simulations, to conclude that, the invariant photocurrent for the devices with different active layer thicknesses is associated with the Y6's diffusion length exceeding 300 nm in case of a 300 nm thick cell. This is despite unintentional doping that occurs in PM6 and the associated space-charge effect, which is expected to be even more profound upon photogeneration. This extraordinarily long diffusion length – which is an order of magnitude larger than typical values for organics – dominates transport in the flat-band region of thick junctions. Our work suggests that the performance of the doped PM6:Y6 organic solar cells resembles that of inorganic devices with diffusion transport playing a pivotal role. Ultimately, this is expected to be a key requirement for the fabrication of efficient, high-photocurrent, thick organic solar cells.

Graphical Abstract for Tokmoldin J Mater Chem A 2020
Source: The Authors
Figure 2 of Stolterfoht Advanced Materials 2020
Source: The Authors

M. Stolterfoht, M. Grischek, P. Caprioglio, C. M. Wolff, E. Gutierrez‐Partida, F. Peña‐Camargo, D. Rothhardt, S. Zhang, M. Raoufi, J. Wolansky, M. Abdi‐Jalebi, S. D. Stranks, S. Albrecht, T. Kirchartz, D. Neher, “How To Quantify the Efficiency Potential of Neat Perovskite Films: Perovskite Semiconductors with an Implied Efficiency Exceeding 28%”, Advanced Materials 32, 2000080 (2020), DOI: 10.1002/adma.202000080

Perovskite photovoltaic (PV) cells have demonstrated power conversion efficiencies (PCE) that are close to those of monocrystalline silicon cells; however, in contrast to silicon PV, perovskites are not limited by Auger recombination under 1-sun illumination. Nevertheless, compared to GaAs and monocrystalline silicon PV, perovskite cells have significantly lower fill factors due to a combination of resistive and non-radiative recombination losses. This necessitates a deeper understanding of the underlying loss mechanisms and in particular the ideality factor of the cell. By measuring the intensity dependence of the external open-circuit voltage and the internal quasi-Fermi level splitting (QFLS), the transport resistance-free efficiency of the complete cell as well as the efficiency potential of any neat perovskite film with or without attached transport layers are quantified. Moreover, intensity-dependent QFLS measurements on different perovskite compositions allows for disentangling of the impact of the interfaces and the perovskite surface on the non-radiative fill factor and open-circuit voltage loss. It is found that potassium-passivated triple cation perovskite films stand out by their exceptionally high implied PCEs > 28%, which could be achieved with ideal transport layers. Finally, strategies are presented to reduce both the ideality factor and transport losses to push the efficiency to the thermodynamic limit.

Figure 2 of Stolterfoht Advanced Materials 2020
Source: The Authors
Figure 1 of Sandberg Advanced Materials Interfaces 2020
Source: The Authors

O. J. Sandberg, J. Kurpiers, M. Stolterfoht, D. Neher, P. Meredith, S. Shoaee, A. Armin, “On the Question of the Need for a Built‐In Potential in Perovskite Solar Cells”, Advanced Materials Interfaces 7, 2000041 (2020), DOI: 10.1002/admi.202000041

Perovskite semiconductors as the active materials in efficient solar cells exhibit free carrier diffusion lengths on the order of microns at low illumination fluxes and many hundreds of nanometers under 1 sun conditions. These lengthscales are significantly larger than typical junction thicknesses, and thus the carrier transport and charge collection should be expected to be diffusion controlled. A consensus along these lines is emerging in the field. However, the question as to whether the built-in potential plays any role is still of matter of some conjecture. This important question using phase-sensitive photocurrent measurements and theoretical device simulations based upon the drift-diffusion framework is addressed. In particular, the role of the built-in electric field and charge-selective transport layers in state-of-the-art p–i–n perovskite solar cells comparing experimental findings and simulation predictions is probed. It is found that while charge collection in the junction does not require a drift field per se, a built-in potential is still needed to avoid the formation of reverse electric fields inside the active layer, and to ensure efficient extraction through the charge transport layers.

Figure 1 of Sandberg Advanced Materials Interfaces 2020
Source: The Authors
Figure 1 of Garcia-Benito Frontiers in Chemistry 2020
Image: The Authors

I. García-Benito, C. Quarti, V. I. E. Queloz, Y. J. Hofstetter, D. Becker-Koch, P. Caprioglio, D. Neher, S. Orlandi, M. Cavazzini, G. Pozzi, J. Even, M. K. Nazeeruddin, Y. Vaynzof, G. Grancini, “Fluorination of Organic Spacer Impacts on the Structural and Optical Response of 2D Perovskites”, Frontiers in Chemistry 7, 1–11 (2020), DOI: 10.3389/fchem.2019.00946

Low-dimensional hybrid perovskites have triggered significant research interest due to their intrinsically tunable optoelectronic properties and technologically relevant material stability. In particular, the role of the organic spacer on the inherent structural and optical features in two-dimensional (2D) perovskites is paramount for material optimization. To obtain a deeper understanding of the relationship between spacers and the corresponding 2D perovskite film properties, we explore the influence of the partial substitution of hydrogen atoms by fluorine in an alkylammonium organic cation, resulting in (Lc)2PbI4 and (Lf)2PbI4 2D perovskites, respectively. Consequently, optical analysis reveals a clear 0.2 eV blue-shift in the excitonic position at room temperature. This result can be mainly attributed to a band gap opening, with negligible effects on the exciton binding energy. According to Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations, the band gap increases due to a larger distortion of the structure that decreases the atomic overlap of the wavefunctions and correspondingly bandwidth of the valence and conduction bands. In addition, fluorination impacts the structural rigidity of the 2D perovskite, resulting in a stable structure at room temperature and the absence of phase transitions at a low temperature, in contrast to the widely reported polymorphism in some non-fluorinated materials that exhibit such a phase transition. This indicates that a small perturbation in the material structure can strongly influence the overall structural stability and related phase transition of 2D perovskites, making them more robust to any phase change. This work provides key information on how the fluorine content in organic spacer influence the structural distortion of 2D perovskites and their optical properties which possess remarkable importance for future optoelectronic applications, for instance in the field of light-emitting devices or sensors.

Figure 1 of Garcia-Benito Frontiers in Chemistry 2020
Image: The Authors
Graphical Abstract for Wolff ACS Nano 2020
Image: The Authors

C. M. Wolff, L. Canil, C. Rehermann, N. Ngoc Linh, F. Zu, M. Ralaiarisoa, P. Caprioglio, L. Fiedler, M. Stolterfoht, S. Kogikoski, I. Bald, N. Koch, E. L. Unger, T. Dittrich, A. Abate, D. Neher, “Perfluorinated Self-Assembled Monolayers Enhance the Stability and Efficiency of Inverted Perovskite Solar Cells”, ACS Nano 14, 1445–1456 (2020), DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.9b03268

Perovskite solar cells are among the most exciting photovoltaic systems as they combine low recombination losses, ease of fabrication, and high spectral tunability. The Achilles heel of this technology is the device stability due to the ionic nature of the perovskite crystal, rendering it highly hygroscopic, and the extensive diffusion of ions especially at increased temperatures. Herein, we demonstrate the application of a simple solution-processed perfluorinated self-assembled monolayer (p-SAM) that not only enhances the solar cell efficiency, but also improves the stability of the perovskite absorber and, in turn, the solar cell under increased temperature or humid conditions. The p–i–n-type perovskite devices employing these SAMs exhibited power conversion efficiencies surpassing 21%. Notably, the best performing devices are stable under standardized maximum power point operation at 85 °C in inert atmosphere (ISOS-L-2) for more than 250 h and exhibit superior humidity resilience, maintaining ∼95% device performance even if stored in humid air in ambient conditions over months (∼3000 h, ISOS-D-1). Our work, therefore, demonstrates a strategy towards efficient and stable perovskite solar cells with easily deposited functional interlayers.

Graphical Abstract for Wolff ACS Nano 2020
Image: The Authors
Figure 2 of Zhong Nature Communications 2020
Source: The Authors

Y. Zhong, M. Causa’, G. J. Moore, P. Krauspe, B. Xiao, F. Günther, J. Kublitski, R. Shivhare, J. Benduhn, E. BarOr, S. Mukherjee, K. M. Yallum, J. Réhault, S. C. B. Mannsfeld, D. Neher, L. J. Richter, D. M. DeLongchamp, F. Ortmann, K. Vandewal, E. Zhou, N. Banerji, “Sub-picosecond charge-transfer at near-zero driving force in polymer:non-fullerene acceptor blends and bilayers”, Nature Communications 11, 833 (2020), DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-14549-w

Organic photovoltaics based on non-fullerene acceptors (NFAs) show record efficiency of 16 to 17% and increased photovoltage owing to the low driving force for interfacial charge-transfer. However, the low driving force potentially slows down charge generation, leading to a tradeoff between voltage and current. Here, we disentangle the intrinsic charge-transfer rates from morphology-dependent exciton diffusion for a series of polymer:NFA systems. Moreover, we establish the influence of the interfacial energetics on the electron and hole transfer rates separately. We demonstrate that charge-transfer timescales remain at a few hundred femtoseconds even at near-zero driving force, which is consistent with the rates predicted by Marcus theory in the normal region, at moderate electronic coupling and at low re-organization energy. Thus, in the design of highly efficient devices, the energy offset at the donor:acceptor interface can be minimized without jeopardizing the charge-transfer rate and without concerns about a current-voltage tradeoff.

Figure 2 of Zhong Nature Communications 2020
Source: The Authors
Graphical Abstract for Mansour J Mater Chem C 2020
Source: The Authors

A. E. Mansour, D. Lungwitz, T. Schultz, M. Arvind, A. M. Valencia, C. Cocchi, A. Opitz, D. Neher, N. Koch, “The optical signatures of molecular-doping induced polarons in poly(3-hexylthiophene-2,5-diyl): Individual polymer chains versus aggregates”, Journal of Materials Chemistry C 8, 2870–2879 (2020), DOI: 10.1039/c9tc06509a

Optical absorption spectroscopy is a key method to investigate doped conjugated polymers and to characterize the doping-induced charge carriers, i.e., polarons. For prototypical poly(3-hexylthiophene-2,5-diyl) (P3HT), the absorption intensity of molecular dopant induced polarons is widely used to estimate the carrier density and the doping efficiency, i.e., the number of polarons formed per dopant molecule. However, the dependence of the polaron-related absorption features on the structure of doped P3HT, being either aggregates or separated individual chains, is not comprehensively understood in contrast to the optical absorption features of neutral P3HT. In this work, we unambiguously differentiate the optical signatures of polarons on individual P3HT chains and aggregates in solution, notably the latter exhibiting the same shape as aggregates in solid thin films. This is enabled by employing tris(pentafluorophenyl)borane (BCF) as dopant, as this dopant forms only ion pairs with P3HT and no charge transfer complexes, and BCF and its anion have no absorption in the spectral region of P3HT polarons. Polarons on individual chains exhibit absorption peaks at 1.5 eV and 0.6 eV, whereas in aggregates the high-energy peak is split into a doublet 1.3 eV and 1.65 eV, and the low-energy peak is shifted below 0.5 eV. The dependence of the fraction of solvated individual chains versus aggregates on absolute solution concentration, dopant concentration, and temperature is elucidated, and we find that aggregates predominate in solution under commonly used processing conditions. Aggregates in BCF-doped P3HT solution can be effectively removed upon simple filtering. From varying the filter pore size (down to 200 nm) and thin film morphology characterization with scanning force microscopy we reveal the aggregates' size dependence on solution absolute concentration and dopant concentration. Furthermore, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy shows that the dopant loading in aggregates is higher than for individual P3HT chains. The results of this study help understanding the impact of solution pre-aggregation on thin film properties of molecularly doped P3HT, and highlight the importance of considering such aggregation for other doped conjugated polymers in general.

Graphical Abstract for Mansour J Mater Chem C 2020
Source: The Authors
Figure 6 of Brauer J Chem Phys 2020
Source: The Authors

J. C. Brauer, D. Tsokkou, S. Sanchez, N. Droseros, B. Roose, E. Mosconi, X. Hua, M. Stolterfoht, D. Neher, U. Steiner, F. De Angelis, A. Abate, N. Banerji, “Comparing the excited-state properties of a mixed-cation–mixed-halide perovskite to methylammonium lead iodide”, The Journal of Chemical Physics 152, 104703 (2020), DOI: 10.1063/1.5133021

Organic–inorganic perovskites are one of the most promising photovoltaic materials for the design of next generation solar cells. The lead-based perovskite prepared with methylammonium and iodide was the first in demonstrating high power conversion efficiency, and it remains one of the most used materials today. However, perovskites prepared by mixing several halides and several cations systematically yield higher efficiencies than “pure” methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) devices. In this work, we unravel the excited-state properties of a mixed-halide (iodide and bromide) and mixed-cation (methylammonium and formamidinium) perovskite. Combining time-resolved photoluminescence, transient absorption, and optical-pump–terahertz-probe experiments with density functional theory calculations, we show that the population of higher-lying excited states in the mixed material increases the lifetime of photogenerated charge carriers upon well above-bandgap excitation. We suggest that alloying different halides and different cations reduces the structural symmetry of the perovskite, which partly releases the selection rules to populate the higher-energy states upon light absorption. Our investigation thus shows that mixed halide perovskites should be considered as an electronically different material than MAPbI3, paving the way toward further materials optimization and improved power conversion efficiency of perovskite solar cells.

Figure 6 of Brauer J Chem Phys 2020
Source: The Authors
Graphical Abstract for Raoufi pssa 2020
Source: The Authors

M. Raoufi, U. Hörmann, G. Ligorio, J. Hildebrandt, M. Pätzel, T. Schultz, L. Perdigon, N. Koch, E. List-Kratochvil, S. Hecht, D. Neher, “Simultaneous Effect of UV‐Radiation and Surface Modification on the Work Function and Hole Injection Properties of ZnO Thin Films”, physica status solidi (a) 217, 1900876 (2020), DOI: 10.1002/pssa.201900876

We systematically investigated the combined effect of UV light soaking and self‐assembled monolayer deposition on the work function of thin ZnO layers and on the efficiency of hole injection into the prototypical conjugated polymer P3HT. We show that the work function and with this the injection efficiency depends strongly on the history of UV light exposure. Proper treatment of the ZnO layer enables ohmic hole injection into P3HT, demonstrating ZnO as a potential anode material for organic optoelectronic devices. The results also suggest that valid conclusions on the energy level alignment at the ZnO/organic interfaces may only be drawn if the illumination history is precisely known and controlled. This is inherently problematic when comparing electronic data from UPS measurements which were carried out under different or ill‐defined illumination conditions.

Graphical Abstract for Raoufi pssa 2020
Source: The Authors
Graphical Abstract for Perdigon Toro, Advanced Materials 2020
Source: The Authors

L. Perdigón-Toro, H. Zhang, A. Markina, J. Yuan, S. M. Hosseini, C. M. Wolff, G. Zuo, M. Stolterfoht, Y. Zou, F. Gao, D. Andrienko, S. Shoaee, D. Neher, “Barrierless Free Charge Generation in the High-Performance PM6:Y6 Bulk Heterojunction Non-Fullerene Solar Cell”, Advanced Materials 32, 1906763 (2020), DOI: 10.1002/adma.201906763

Organic solar cells are currently experiencing a second golden age thanks to the development of novel non‐fullerene acceptors (NFAs). Surprisingly, some of these blends exhibit high efficiencies despite a low energy offset at the heterojunction. Herein, free charge generation in the high‐performance blend of the donor polymer PM6 with the NFA Y6 is thoroughly investigated as a function of internal field, temperature and excitation energy. Results show that photocurrent generation is essentially barrierless with near‐unity efficiency, regardless of excitation energy. Efficient charge separation is maintained over a wide temperature range, down to 100 K, despite the small driving force for charge generation. Studies on a blend with a low concentration of the NFA, measurements of the energetic disorder, and theoretical modeling suggest that CT state dissociation is assisted by the electrostatic interfacial field which for Y6 is large enough to compensate the Coulomb dissociation barrier.

Graphical Abstract for Perdigon Toro, Advanced Materials 2020
Source: The Authors
Graphical Abstract for Krückemeier Advanced Energy Materials 2020
Source: The Authors

L. Krückemeier, U. Rau, M. Stolterfoht, T. Kirchartz, “How to Report Record Open‐Circuit Voltages in Lead‐Halide Perovskite Solar Cells”, Advanced Energy Materials 10, 1902573 (2020), DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201902573

Open‐circuit voltages of lead‐halide perovskite solar cells are improving rapidly and are approaching the thermodynamic limit. Since many different perovskite compositions with different bandgap energies are actively being investigated, it is not straightforward to compare the open‐circuit voltages between these devices as long as a consistent method of referencing is missing. For the purpose of comparing open‐circuit voltages and identifying outstanding values, it is imperative to use a unique, generally accepted way of calculating the thermodynamic limit, which is currently not the case. Here a meta‐analysis of methods to determine the bandgap and a radiative limit for open‐circuit voltage is presented. The differences between the methods are analyzed and an easily applicable approach based on the solar cell quantum efficiency as a general reference is proposed.

Graphical Abstract for Krückemeier Advanced Energy Materials 2020
Source: The Authors