Novel Composite Oxides by Combinatorial Material Synthesis for Next Generation All-Oxide-Photovoltaics
Energy policies have pushed for different technologies to decrease pollutant emissions and reduce global climate change. Photovoltaic technology (PV) is an attractive renewable alternative energy source. Despite the constant reduction in the cost of photovoltaic cells and modules (mostly related to manufacturing / engineering), meeting the grid parity requires a breakthrough. One of the parameters that cannot further be reduced in the up-scaling module production is the price of the materials. For a drastic decrease of PV production cost cheap abundant materials in conjunction with low cost fabrication methods are required.
The main objective of this proposal is to develop low cost All-Oxide Photovoltaics
Metal oxides (MOs) are chemically stable, mostly non-toxic and abundant materials, often manufactured by low cost methods, under ambient conditions. Consequently, devices made of oxide semiconductors are mostly inexpensive, very stable and environmentally safe - the three most important requirements for macro-electronics such as photovoltaics. From the optical point of view, many MOs are suitable for PV applications. However, the electronic properties of most known MOs, i.e., short lifetime of excited electronic states and low mobility of electronic charge carriers, prevented their use as active solar cell materials. Developing functional multi-component MOs including doped oxides, new crystal structures, amorphous materials and composites, lies at the heart of the AllOxidePV project. It is the aim to overcome the limiting properties of the known oxides with these novel materials thus enabling efficient, durable solar conversion to electricity at extremely low cost. An interdisciplinary approach merging combinatorial material science, interface engineering, analytical nanoscience, spectroscopy and computational data analysis will enable the realization of AllOxidePV. Solar cell fabrication based on these materials will require smart engineering of the internal surfaces and interfaces. The project concept is based on multiple feedback loops between synthesis, characterization and device performance, accompanied by fundamental studies on highly idealized systems to gain an understanding of the underlying physics.