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HKBU researchers create perovskite solar cells with high reliability


Perovskite solar cell is a disruptive semiconductor technology that has been rapidly emerging in the recent years. Different from the conventional silicon solar cells fabricated via high-temperature, high vacuum processes, perovskite can be easily made into thin films using solution printing, like newspaper. The performance of perovskite solar cells has climbed very rapidly, but there are still significant barriers in the commercialization path, in particular concerning various stability aspects of these solar cells under real-world conditions.

Recently, opto-mechanical reliability has emerged as an important criterion in the field for evaluating the performance and commercialization potential of perovskite solar cells due to the mechanical-property mismatch of metal halide perovskites with other device layers. Ms HAO Mingwei, a HKBU PhD student under the prestigious Hong Kong PhD Fellowship (HKPFS), together with her supervisor, Dr ZHOU Yuanyuan, Assistant Professor of the Department of Physics, have discovered that the grain-boundary groove, a rarely discussed film microstructural characteristics, can impart significant effects on the opto-mechanical reliability of perovskite-substrate heterointerfaces and thus solar cell performance. By pre-burying iso-butylammonium chloride additive in the electron-transport layer, Dr ZHOU and Ms HAO flattened GB grooves and created an opto-mechanically reliable perovskite heterointerface that resists the photothermal fatigue. The improved mechanical integrity of perovskite heterointerfaces also benefits the charge transport and chemical stability by facilitating the carrier injection and reducing the moisture or solvent trapping, respectively. Accordingly, they achieved high-performance perovskite solar cells which exhibit efficiency retentions of 94.8% under 440 h damp heat test (85% RH and 85 °C), and 93.0% under 2000 h continuous light soaking. Collaborators in this work include also academics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences – Institute of Mechanics, Southeast University, and Yale University.

This work has been published in the Advanced Materials (Impact Factor: 32.09) Rising Stars series. The Rising Stars series of invited-only articles intends to showcase the outstanding work of recognized researchers in the early stages of their independent careers. All Rising Stars are individually nominated by the journal’s editorial team and Editorial Advisory Board members in recognition of their potential to influence future directions in their respective fields of research in materials science. Dr ZHOU Yuanyuan was named as one of the Advanced Materials Rising Stars for his contributions and impact in the emerging materials-science field of perovskite semiconductors.

Considering the novelty and potential breakthrough of the new perovskite solar cell technology reported by this work, Dr ZHOU’s group has filed a United States provisional patent application via the support of HKBU Knowledge Transfer Office, hoping to collaborate with industry in the future for technology transfer and commercialisation.

This new work is driven by Dr ZHOU Yuanyuan’s research group’s efforts in innovating semiconductor technologies via high-throughput, high-resolution & transdisciplinary approaches. Dr ZHOU’ s novel semiconductor research project has been exhibited in InnoTech 2022, as one of the only 25 science & tech projects chosen for celebrating the 25 anniversary of Hong Kong SAR establishment, unleashing utmost societal impacts. For more information about Dr ZHOU’s research laboratory, please visit



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