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Researchers raise dye-sensitised solar cell efficiency to 15%

Posted: 18 Jul 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:dye-sensitised solar cell? DSSC? perovskite?

A team of scientists at EPFL has created a state solid version of the dye-sensitised solar cell (DSSC) that is fabricated by a two-step process raising their efficiency up to a record 15 per cent without sacrificing stability. DSSCs have many advantages over their silicon-based counterparts. According to them, they offer transparency, low cost, and high power conversion efficiencies under cloudy and artificial light conditions.

The solid-state embodiment of the DSSC uses a perovskite material as a light harvester and an organic hole transport material to replace the cell's electrolyte.

Project leader Michael Grätzel with one of EPFL's dye-sensitized solar cells

Figure 1: Project leader Michael Grätzel with one of EPFL's dye-sensitized solar cells. Credit: EPFL.

Typical fabrication of the DSSC involves depositing a perovskite material directly onto a metal-oxide film. The problem is that adding the entire material together often causes wide variation in the morphology and the efficiency of the resulting solar cell, which makes it difficult to use them in everyday applications.

Michael Gr?tzel's team at EPFL has solved the problem with a two-step approach: First, one part of the perovskite is deposited in to the pores of the metal-oxide scaffold. Second, the deposited part is exposed to a solution that contains the other component of the perovskite. When the two parts come into contact, they react instantaneously and convert into the complete light-sensitive pigment, permitting much better control over the morphology of the solar cell.

The method raises DSSC power-conversion efficiency, exceeding the power conversion efficiencies of conventional, amorphous silicon-based solar cells. The authors believe that it will open a new era of DSSC development, featuring stability and efficiencies that equal or even surpass today's best thin-film photovoltaic devices.

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