Low-cost fullerene derivative as an efficient electron transport layer for planar perovskite solar cells

Rui Chen, Wei Wang, Tongle Bu, Zhiliang Ku, Jie Zhong, Yong Peng, Sheng Qiang Xiao, Wei You, Fu Zhi Huang, Yibing Cheng, Zhengyi Fu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have attracted significant attention owing to their high absorption coefficient and ambipolar charge transport properties. With only several years of development, the power conversion efficiency (PCE) has increased from 3.8% to 22.7%. In general, PSCs have two types of structural architecture: mesoporous and planar. The latter possesses higher potential for commercialization due to its simpler structure and fabrication process, especially the inverted planar structure, which possesses negligible hysteresis. In an inverted PSC, the electron transport materials (ETM) are deposited on a perovskite film. Only a few ETMs can be used for inverted PSCs as the perovskite film is easily damaged by the solvent used to dissolve the ETM. Furthermore, the energy levels of the ETM should be well aligned with that of the perovskites. Normally it is difficult to use inorganic ETMs as they require high temperatures for the annealing process to improve the electron conductivity; the perovskite film cannot sustain these high temperatures. To date, the fullerene derivative, [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM), is the most commonly used organic ETM for high efficiency inverted planar PSCs. However, the high manufacturing cost due to its complex synthesis retards the industrialization of the PSCs. Here, we introduce a fullerene pyrrolidine derivative, N-methyl- 2-pentyl-[60]fullerene pyrrolidine (NMPFP), synthesized via the Prato reaction of C60 directly with cheap hexanal and sarcosine. Then the NMPFP electron transport layer (ETL) was prepared by a simple solution process. The properties of the resulting NMPFP ETLs were characterized using UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy, cyclic voltammetry measurements, atomic force microscopy, and conductivity test. From the results of the UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy and cyclic voltammetry measurements, the LUMO level of NMPFP ETL was calculated to be 0.2 eV higher than that of the PCBM ETL. This contributes to a higher open-circuit photovoltage. In addition, the NMPFP film presented higher conductivity than the PCBM film. Thus, the photo-generated charge carriers in the perovskite films should be transported more efficiently to the NMPFP electron transport layer (ETL) than to the PCBM ETL. This was confirmed by the results of the steady-state photoluminescence spectroscopy. Finally, the NMPFP as an alternative low-cost ETL was employed in an inverted planar PSC to evaluate the device performance. The device made with the NMPFP ETL yielded an efficiency of 13.83% with negligible hysteresis, which is comparable to the PCBM counterpart devices. Moreover, since stability is another important parameter retarding the commercialization of PSCs, the stability of the PCBM and NMPFP base PSCs were investigated and compared. It was found that the NMPFP devices possessed significantly improved stability due to the higher hydrophobicity of the NMPFP. In conclusion, this research demonstrates that NMPFP is a promising ETL to replace PCBM for the industrialization of cheap, efficient and stable inverted planar PSCs.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages401-407
Number of pages7
JournalWuli Huaxue Xuebao/ Acta Physico - Chimica Sinica
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Fullerenes
Derivatives
Butyric Acid
Costs
Esters
Ultraviolet spectroscopy
Absorption spectroscopy
pyrrolidine
Electron Transport
Perovskite solar cells
Cyclic voltammetry
Hysteresis
fullerene C60
Sarcosine
Photoluminescence spectroscopy
Hydrophobicity
Charge carriers
Transport properties
Electron energy levels
Conversion efficiency

Keywords

  • Electron transport layer
  • Fullerene derivative
  • Inverted perovskite solar cells
  • Low cost
  • PCBM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Cite this

Low-cost fullerene derivative as an efficient electron transport layer for planar perovskite solar cells. / Chen, Rui; Wang, Wei; Bu, Tongle; Ku, Zhiliang; Zhong, Jie; Peng, Yong; Xiao, Sheng Qiang; You, Wei; Huang, Fu Zhi; Cheng, Yibing; Fu, Zhengyi.

In: Wuli Huaxue Xuebao/ Acta Physico - Chimica Sinica, Vol. 35, No. 4, 01.01.2019, p. 401-407.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Chen, Rui ; Wang, Wei ; Bu, Tongle ; Ku, Zhiliang ; Zhong, Jie ; Peng, Yong ; Xiao, Sheng Qiang ; You, Wei ; Huang, Fu Zhi ; Cheng, Yibing ; Fu, Zhengyi. / Low-cost fullerene derivative as an efficient electron transport layer for planar perovskite solar cells. In: Wuli Huaxue Xuebao/ Acta Physico - Chimica Sinica. 2019 ; Vol. 35, No. 4. pp. 401-407.
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T1 - Low-cost fullerene derivative as an efficient electron transport layer for planar perovskite solar cells

AU - Chen, Rui

AU - Wang, Wei

AU - Bu, Tongle

AU - Ku, Zhiliang

AU - Zhong, Jie

AU - Peng, Yong

AU - Xiao, Sheng Qiang

AU - You, Wei

AU - Huang, Fu Zhi

AU - Cheng, Yibing

AU - Fu, Zhengyi

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - Organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have attracted significant attention owing to their high absorption coefficient and ambipolar charge transport properties. With only several years of development, the power conversion efficiency (PCE) has increased from 3.8% to 22.7%. In general, PSCs have two types of structural architecture: mesoporous and planar. The latter possesses higher potential for commercialization due to its simpler structure and fabrication process, especially the inverted planar structure, which possesses negligible hysteresis. In an inverted PSC, the electron transport materials (ETM) are deposited on a perovskite film. Only a few ETMs can be used for inverted PSCs as the perovskite film is easily damaged by the solvent used to dissolve the ETM. Furthermore, the energy levels of the ETM should be well aligned with that of the perovskites. Normally it is difficult to use inorganic ETMs as they require high temperatures for the annealing process to improve the electron conductivity; the perovskite film cannot sustain these high temperatures. To date, the fullerene derivative, [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM), is the most commonly used organic ETM for high efficiency inverted planar PSCs. However, the high manufacturing cost due to its complex synthesis retards the industrialization of the PSCs. Here, we introduce a fullerene pyrrolidine derivative, N-methyl- 2-pentyl-[60]fullerene pyrrolidine (NMPFP), synthesized via the Prato reaction of C60 directly with cheap hexanal and sarcosine. Then the NMPFP electron transport layer (ETL) was prepared by a simple solution process. The properties of the resulting NMPFP ETLs were characterized using UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy, cyclic voltammetry measurements, atomic force microscopy, and conductivity test. From the results of the UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy and cyclic voltammetry measurements, the LUMO level of NMPFP ETL was calculated to be 0.2 eV higher than that of the PCBM ETL. This contributes to a higher open-circuit photovoltage. In addition, the NMPFP film presented higher conductivity than the PCBM film. Thus, the photo-generated charge carriers in the perovskite films should be transported more efficiently to the NMPFP electron transport layer (ETL) than to the PCBM ETL. This was confirmed by the results of the steady-state photoluminescence spectroscopy. Finally, the NMPFP as an alternative low-cost ETL was employed in an inverted planar PSC to evaluate the device performance. The device made with the NMPFP ETL yielded an efficiency of 13.83% with negligible hysteresis, which is comparable to the PCBM counterpart devices. Moreover, since stability is another important parameter retarding the commercialization of PSCs, the stability of the PCBM and NMPFP base PSCs were investigated and compared. It was found that the NMPFP devices possessed significantly improved stability due to the higher hydrophobicity of the NMPFP. In conclusion, this research demonstrates that NMPFP is a promising ETL to replace PCBM for the industrialization of cheap, efficient and stable inverted planar PSCs.

AB - Organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have attracted significant attention owing to their high absorption coefficient and ambipolar charge transport properties. With only several years of development, the power conversion efficiency (PCE) has increased from 3.8% to 22.7%. In general, PSCs have two types of structural architecture: mesoporous and planar. The latter possesses higher potential for commercialization due to its simpler structure and fabrication process, especially the inverted planar structure, which possesses negligible hysteresis. In an inverted PSC, the electron transport materials (ETM) are deposited on a perovskite film. Only a few ETMs can be used for inverted PSCs as the perovskite film is easily damaged by the solvent used to dissolve the ETM. Furthermore, the energy levels of the ETM should be well aligned with that of the perovskites. Normally it is difficult to use inorganic ETMs as they require high temperatures for the annealing process to improve the electron conductivity; the perovskite film cannot sustain these high temperatures. To date, the fullerene derivative, [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM), is the most commonly used organic ETM for high efficiency inverted planar PSCs. However, the high manufacturing cost due to its complex synthesis retards the industrialization of the PSCs. Here, we introduce a fullerene pyrrolidine derivative, N-methyl- 2-pentyl-[60]fullerene pyrrolidine (NMPFP), synthesized via the Prato reaction of C60 directly with cheap hexanal and sarcosine. Then the NMPFP electron transport layer (ETL) was prepared by a simple solution process. The properties of the resulting NMPFP ETLs were characterized using UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy, cyclic voltammetry measurements, atomic force microscopy, and conductivity test. From the results of the UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy and cyclic voltammetry measurements, the LUMO level of NMPFP ETL was calculated to be 0.2 eV higher than that of the PCBM ETL. This contributes to a higher open-circuit photovoltage. In addition, the NMPFP film presented higher conductivity than the PCBM film. Thus, the photo-generated charge carriers in the perovskite films should be transported more efficiently to the NMPFP electron transport layer (ETL) than to the PCBM ETL. This was confirmed by the results of the steady-state photoluminescence spectroscopy. Finally, the NMPFP as an alternative low-cost ETL was employed in an inverted planar PSC to evaluate the device performance. The device made with the NMPFP ETL yielded an efficiency of 13.83% with negligible hysteresis, which is comparable to the PCBM counterpart devices. Moreover, since stability is another important parameter retarding the commercialization of PSCs, the stability of the PCBM and NMPFP base PSCs were investigated and compared. It was found that the NMPFP devices possessed significantly improved stability due to the higher hydrophobicity of the NMPFP. In conclusion, this research demonstrates that NMPFP is a promising ETL to replace PCBM for the industrialization of cheap, efficient and stable inverted planar PSCs.

KW - Electron transport layer

KW - Fullerene derivative

KW - Inverted perovskite solar cells

KW - Low cost

KW - PCBM

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