Mechanochemistry for Rapid Scalable Synthesis of Next Generation Solar Cell Materials

Project Description

The drive to improve the power conversion efficiency of the class of next generation solar cell materials known as 'halide perovskites' has been tremendously successful, with values now exceeding 24%. Consequently, the next frontiers of research will be in enhancing stability and achieving scalable production. Students on this project will address both of these challenges simultaneously. Quite unlike traditional semiconductors, which are brittle, halide perovskites are relatively soft and deformable at moderate pressure, i.e. they undergo 'plastic deformation,' a process in which the tiny crystallites or crystal 'grains' are consolidated into larger crystals. Herein is proposed a novel manufacturing approach in which the plastic deformation is exploited to fabricate flat, pinhole-free, large-grain perovskite thin films. Simultaneously, the perovskite will be sandwiched between two sheets of glass ('encapsulated'), sealing the fragile perovskite between inert barriers, thus extending its stability. Through this project, students will be trained in a 'smart manufacturing' technique specifically chosen for compatibility with high-throughput, low-cost fabrication.

Research Goals

  • Test pressure and temperature conditions to achieve plastic deformation of halide perovskites
  • Assess different encapsulation materials for their ability to form a seal with the perovskite
  • Measure figure-of-merit for solar cell performance of pressure-formed perovskites.

Learning Goals

  • Learn how to formulate and test hypotheses governing processing parameters and synthesis outcomes.
  • Learn characterization tools for semiconductor thin films, especially for solar cell technology.
  • Learn project management skills related to functioning on an objective-focused team.

Group Conducting Research

Tang Lab: fafarmanresearchgroup/