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Characterization of interfaces: Lessons from the past for the future of perovskite solar cells

Wanlong Wang1, Dongyang Zhang2, Rong Liu1, , Deepak Thrithamarassery Gangadharan2, Furui Tan1, and Makhsud I. Saidaminov2,

+ Author Affiliations

 Corresponding author: Rong Liu, liurong@pkusz.edu.cn; Furui Tan, frtan@henu.edu.cn; Makhsud I. Saidaminov, msaidaminov@uvic.ca

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Abstract: A photovoltaic technology historically goes through two major steps to evolve into a mature technology. The first step involves advances in materials and is usually accompanied by the rapid improvement of power conversion efficiency. The second step focuses on interfaces and is usually accompanied by significant stability improvement. As an emerging generation of photovoltaic technology, perovskite solar cells are transitioning to the second step of their development when a significant focus shifts toward interface studies and engineering. While various interface engineering strategies have been developed, interfacial characterization is crucial to show the effectiveness of interfacial modification. Here, we review the characterization techniques that have been utilized in studying interface properties in perovskite solar cells. We first summarize the main roles of interfaces in perovskite solar cells, and then we discuss some typical characterization methodologies for morphological, optical, and electrical studies of interfaces. Successful experiences and existing problems are analyzed when discussing some commonly used methods. We then analyze the challenges and provide an outlook for further development of interfacial characterizations. This review aims to evoke strengthened research devotion on novel and persuasive interfacial engineering.

Key words: interfaceperovskite solar cellscharacterization methods



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Fig. 1.  (Color online) Efficiency evolution of different solar cells. Interface engineering has recently played an increasingly important role in obtaining a higher efficiency for each cell.

Fig. 2.  (Color online) (a) Perovskite crystal structure, Schottky defect, Frenkel defect and ion migration through interfaces. (b) Schematic illustration of photo-generation and, diffusion and transfer of charges at interfaces, trap-assisted nonradiative recombination (due to intrinsic defects and impurities at interfaces) and back transfer and interface recombination. (c) Energy band alignment of some typical materials used in perovskite solar cells.

Fig. 3.  (Color online) Interface material characterization methods. (a) Cross-section SEM image of PSCs showing excess of PbI2 at interfaces. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [84]. Copyright 2019, ACS. (b) Photoluminescence mapping image showing the crystallization of perovskite from the pre-embedded perovskite seeds. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [89]. Copyright 2018, Nature. (c) AFM image of TiO2. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [90]. Copyright 2020, RSC. (d) Cross-sectional HRTEM imagewide band gap perovskite near the surface. Scale bars: 1 μm. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [91]. Copyright 2019, Nature. (e) XPS depth profiles for cross-sectional characterization. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [95]. Copyright 2015, ACS. (f) and (g) Schematic illustration and measurement results from TOF-SIMS characterization. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [103]. Copyright 2018, Nature.

Fig. 4.  (Color online) (a) Steady state and (b) time resolved photoluminescence (PL) spectra of perovskite films with different back contact layers. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [105]. Copyright 2018, Wiley. (c) Transmission (ΔT/T) spectra of devices. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [122]. Copyright 2020, ELSEVIER. (d) Transient absorption kinetics of perovskite films with different substrates. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [124]. Copyright 2015, ACS. (e) Ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS) spectra showing the energy-level alignment of the interfaces. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [125]. Copyright 2020, Wiley. (f) Reflectivity spectra of perovskite films on textured substrates. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [128]. Copyright 2019, ACS.

Fig. 5.  (Color online) (a) Transient photocurrent spectra of perovskite films with different contact thin layers. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [105]. Copyright 2019, Wiley. The energy-level alignments at interface are also given for comparison. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [134]. Copyright 2019, Wiley. (b) Transient photovoltage spectra of perovskite films with different TiO2 ETL. The inset shows the contact passivation of perovskite by interfacial Cl. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [60]. Copyright 2017, Science. (c) Charge transfer recombination resistance at different bias voltages in electrochemical impedance spectrum measurement. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [146]. Copyright 2020, Wiley. (d) Space-charge-limited current (SCLC) characterization of perovskite solar cells with different SnO2 ETLs. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [153]. Copyright 2020, Wiley. (e) Electron beam induced current (EBIC) measurement of the current mapping at cross-section interfaces. Reproduced with permission from Ref. [160]. Copyright 2019, Science.

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    Received: 12 October 2021 Revised: 24 November 2021 Online: Accepted Manuscript: 07 January 2022Uncorrected proof: 10 January 2022Published: 01 May 2022

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      Wanlong Wang, Dongyang Zhang, Rong Liu, Deepak Thrithamarassery Gangadharan, Furui Tan, Makhsud I. Saidaminov. Characterization of interfaces: Lessons from the past for the future of perovskite solar cells[J]. Journal of Semiconductors, 2022, 43(5): 051202. doi: 10.1088/1674-4926/43/5/051202 W L Wang, D Y Zhang, R Liu, D T Gangadharan, F R Tan, M I Saidaminov. Characterization of interfaces: Lessons from the past for the future of perovskite solar cells[J]. J. Semicond, 2022, 43(5): 051202. doi: 10.1088/1674-4926/43/5/051202Export: BibTex EndNote
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      Wanlong Wang, Dongyang Zhang, Rong Liu, Deepak Thrithamarassery Gangadharan, Furui Tan, Makhsud I. Saidaminov. Characterization of interfaces: Lessons from the past for the future of perovskite solar cells[J]. Journal of Semiconductors, 2022, 43(5): 051202. doi: 10.1088/1674-4926/43/5/051202

      W L Wang, D Y Zhang, R Liu, D T Gangadharan, F R Tan, M I Saidaminov. Characterization of interfaces: Lessons from the past for the future of perovskite solar cells[J]. J. Semicond, 2022, 43(5): 051202. doi: 10.1088/1674-4926/43/5/051202
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      Characterization of interfaces: Lessons from the past for the future of perovskite solar cells

      doi: 10.1088/1674-4926/43/5/051202
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      • Author Bio:

        Wanlong Wang received his bachelor’s degree from Zhengzhou University in 2019. He is currently an M.S. candidate under the supervision of Associate Professor Furui Tan at Henan University. His current research focuses on the modification of transparent electrodes for perovskite solar cells

        Rong Liu received her Ph.D. from School of Materials Science and Engineering, Hubei University in 2016. From 2017–2019, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow in Shenzhen Graduate School of Peking University. She joined the Henan Key Laboratory of Photovoltaic Materials, Henan University in 2019. Her current research interests include quantum dots solar cells, perovskite solar cell and photoelectric detector

      • Corresponding author: liurong@pkusz.edu.cnfrtan@henu.edu.cnmsaidaminov@uvic.ca
      • Received Date: 2021-10-12
      • Revised Date: 2021-11-24
      • Available Online: 2022-04-07

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