Scientists make perovskite panel using a piece of paper

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Researchers at Tor Vergata University in Italy and the University of Zanjan in Iran have developed a new method that makes it possible to manufacture perovskite solar cells using just a piece of paper. Photovoltaic films can be deposited on pulp sheets manually, without the need for other equipment.

The key to maintaining the high electrical performance of this technique is to soak the paper applicator in an anti-solvent material that nearly doubles the device’s energy efficiency, reaching 11% on flexible plastic substrates. In addition, the paper has sufficient porosity and smoothness for the deposition of high quality perovskite films.

“Another factor is that the energy efficiency achieved with spin coating devices with the anti-solvent method was 14.9%, so there is room for further improvement with the use of automated processes rather than manual manufacturing techniques,” he explains. chemical engineer Nazila Zarabinia, lead author of the study.

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Handmade

Currently, perovskite films are deposited on the substrate using a spin coating method, which guarantees greater control over the thickness of the films, in addition to providing a more suitable morphology. However, most of the ink used during this process is expelled and wasted in large quantities.

The new technique developed by the researchers does not require the use of a spin coater — equipment used to deposit uniform thin films on flat substrates — or other spin coating processes to apply the perovskite films, even in areas that need greater coverage.

“With this manual method of application, we were able to create a potentially scalable process that combines a smooth, smooth applicator that can absorb the anti-solvent material to produce more uniform, hole-free, and consequently more efficient and durable perovskite films,” adds Zarabinia.

Cheaper

The researchers hope that the use of sheets of paper will make the process of manufacturing perovskite panels cheaper, as this method allows the manual deposition of solar films on malleable devices, produced from complete or layered photovoltaic cells.

By soaking the paper used as applicator in an anti-solvent substance, the energy conversion efficiency rate of solar cells increased by 82%, compared to applying perovskite films to dry paper sheets, showing that the energy gain can be incremented without the use of expensive equipment.

“Flexible perovskite solar cells are particularly interesting for use in large areas, as they allow the manufacturing of foldable solar panels on an industrial scale, as well as application on curved surfaces for external or internal use, without compromising their electrical efficiency”, concludes Nazila Zarabinia.

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