Swiss Ai Research Overview Platform
Content and objectives of the work plan
Our general approach is to work on materials, device architectures, and large-area processing, with continuous feedback between design, fabrication and measurements given by data-driven approaches such as Machine Learning. The goal of A3P project is to design innovative thin-film processing techniques and manufacture perovskite-silicon tandems with efficiency >30%. Processing for ultra-high efficiency and low manufacturing cost PV will be demonstrated with an innovative technology based on a data-driven photonic sintering system, accelerating the development of perovskite-based solar cells.
Scientific and social context of the research project
The project will consolidate Switzerland’s position at the forefront of innovative research in PV. Our development of an industry-relevant deposition technique should accelerate the commercialization of these technologies. The project will have an impact beyond the field of PV as our findings on optimum layer deposition parameters will find application in fields such as sensors, light-emitting devices, detectors or flexible electronics.
A large amount of data will be recorded (process parameters and in situ material analysis results). Analytics tools will be used to understand the links between process parameters, material composition and film performance. Such computations are important to characterize the film quality for PSCs and conformal perovskite deposition over Si-textured substrates, key factors for subsequent manufacturing and upscaling of highly efficient tandem solar cells. The availability of these algorithms will greatly accelerate perovskite solar cell research by automating a process that scientists would previously perform by hand.
According to the Shell Sky Scenario, photovoltaics (PV) will need to reach a production capacity of 1000 GW per year from the year 2035 onwards to follow the Paris agreement and stay below 2 degrees of increase in global temperatures. This represents a phenomenal growth rate compared to today´s total installed capacity of about 600 GW (for reference, the capacity added last year was about 140 GW). In this project, we will bring our flash infrared annealing (FIRA) technique for the curing of thin-film materials to the next level by demonstrating a rapid and continuous process with low environmental impact for the production of high-efficiency PV devices. We will apply our method to upscale and accelerate process time of perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells, a solar cell technology that has the potential to accelerate the deployment of PV thanks to its potential for high performance and low fabrication costs. However, our photonic pulse method will remain applicable to other technologies, notably dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) and electrode materials for solar fuel production.With this project, we aim to build on a promising base: our photonic sintering method currently enables the curing of perovskite films in less than 2 seconds and yields single-junction solar cell efficiencies up to 20%. Importantly, our approach has about only 10% of the environmental impact compared to the most established antisolvent (AS) method based on life cycle assessments. FIRA has hence a unique potential for industrial manufacturing since it can be adapted for both plate-to-plate and roll-to-roll (R2R) processing, and it replaces hour-long annealing steps. In the project, we will upgrade and generalize our FIRA method to manufacture large-scale perovskite single-junction and perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells. We will ensure that our process is rapid, environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and enables the continuous manufacturing process of thin films and devices of high optoelectronic quality. In situ optical characterization coupled to data-driven methods such as machine learning will be implemented to accelerate the search for optimum process parameters.Our consortium involves the Swiss University of Applied Sciences (HEIA-Fribourg) and EPFL (PVLAB and LIMNO). The HEIA team will be in charge of developing the automated photonic pulse annealing system, which will be synchronized with a solution deposition system. Work at EPFL will build on the unique expertise of the consortium partners in highly efficient small-scale (mm2-cm2) single-junction (> 24%) and tandem solar cells (>27%). Combining these strengths, we will develop a process to upscale device dimensions to industrially relevant ones, =239 cm2 for tandems, while ensuring high device efficiencies.