Researchers from the Graphene Flagship have developed hybrids of graphene and molybdenum disulphide quantum dots to stabilize perovskite solar cells (PSCs). PSCs are a novel type of solar cells which are efficient, relatively easy to produce, made with cheaper materials and, due to their flexibility, can be used in locations where traditional silicon solar cells cannot be placed.
A collaboration between the Graphene Flagship Partners Istituto Italiano di Technologia, University of Rome Tor Vergata, and BeDimensional resulted in a novel approach based on graphene and related materials to stabilize PSCs, thus addressing the stability issue of PSCs, a major hurdle hindering their commercialization.
The team used molybdenum disulphide quantum dot/graphene hybrids to address PSCs' instability issue. The collaboration between research institutions and industrial partners enabled by Graphene Flagship, yielded an ink based on graphene and related materials (GRMs). Layering this over the PSCs caused them to drastically increase in stability.
Graphene was central, as molybdenum disulphide was anchored to reduced graphene oxide. This allowed for both materials' properties to be applied and the ink not only increased the stability but also the performance of the PSC.
"Thanks to this research, we have overcome a major hurdle to adopting this new technology," said Emanuel Kymakis, work package deputy leader for energy generation. "With the new levels of stability and performance, we could see the mass adoption of PSCs in the next few years."
Once the PSCs stability is solved, attention can focus on scaling up production. Manufacturing PSCs requires solution processing, that can be ramped up to an industrial scale. Due to the flexibility, PSCs can be applied to nearly any surface and produce electricity.
Andrea C. Ferrari, Science and Technology Officer of the Graphene Flagship and Chair of its Management Panel added: "the potential of graphene and related materials to improve solar cells has been recognized since the beginning of the Flagship. Their combination with the emerging field of perovskite solar cells now allows a crucial step forward in stability. This validates the major investments in spearhead projects on solar cells done by the Flagship and paves the way for the novel solar farm we will develop by 2020."