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WIREs Energy Environ.
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Printable solar cells

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Printable solar cells attract academic and industrial interests because solar cells should be cost‐effective systems and have to be fabricated by non‐vacuum methods such as screen printing, doctor blading, spin coating, spray deposition, and electrochemical deposition. In order to be a cost‐effective solar system, the solar cells neither include expensive (indium) and toxic materials (cadmium and mercury) nor expensive processes such as chemical vapor deposition and sputtering. Similar to printed solar cells, many types of solar cells have been investigated in the past two decades: organic, dye‐sensitized solar cells, Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2, Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4, organic thin‐film photovoltaic cells, and so on. Now, the photoenergy conversion efficiencies of printed solar cells have been improved by more than 10% with the efforts of scientists. In this review, prominent progress has been presented for the future of our society. WIREs Energy Environ 2015, 4:51–73. doi: 10.1002/wene.112

This article is categorized under:

  • Photovoltaics > Science and Materials
  • Photovoltaics > Economics and Policy
The photovoltaic initial scheme in printed solar cells: (a) light absorption by photoabsorber; (b) electron excitation in the photoabsorber; and (c) charge separation to conducting oxide and back contact.
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Photograph of electrochemical deposition of selenium on porous TiO2 layer.
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Photographs of solutions for chemical bath deposition of Sb2S3 on porous TiO2 layer; left: before deposition (transparent); right: after deposition (orange).
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Photograph of doctor blading of TiO2 paste.
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Photograph of spin coating.
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Photograph of screen printing for porous TiO2 layer.
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Photograph of spray pyrolysis deposition of dense TiO2 layer.
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Irradiation time dependence of the photocurrent conversion efficiency (PCE) for the nonsealed CBDTiOx‐inserted cell in air. The PCBM:P3HT blend film was prepared using the CB solution. The PCE maintained 94.0% of the maximum value (2.23%) even after continuous light irradiation for 100 h.
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Schematic structures of normal (a) and inverted‐type organic solar cells (b).
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Structure of tandem cell by Heeger et al. [JSC = 7.8 mA/cm2, VOC = 1.24 V, fill factor (FF) = 0.67, and η = 6.5%].
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Structure of poly‐TAD.
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A diagram illustrating the charge transfer and transport in a perovskite‐sensitized TiO2 solar cell (left) and a noninjecting Al2O3‐based perovskite solar cell (right).
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The structure of 2,2',7,7'‐tetrakis(N,N‐diphenylamino) ‐9,9'‐spirobifluorene (Spiro‐OMeTAD).
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A base structure of triphenyldiamine (TPD). The substitution group can be introduced on the side of benzine rings, depending on the purpose.
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Measured IV characteristics and simulated data of a cell with a three‐electrode configuration under white light illumination equivalent to 1 sun. The normal IV characteristics between the F‐doped SnO2 (FTO) electrode and the Pt electrode (measured, black squares; simulated, green diamonds) and the internal voltage between the FTO electrode and the Ti electrode (measured, blue squares; simulated, red triangles) were sampled in parallel.
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Simulated spatial distribution of the electron concentration in the conduction band of the nanoporous TiO2 layer (thickness d 10 µm) against the voltage applied between F‐doped SnO2 (FTO) and Pt (normal IV characteristics). It can be clearly seen that at over 500 mV there is nearly no change in the electron concentration close to the far end of the TiO2 matrix. This is a result of the diffusion‐driven current and explains the characteristics of Vint in Figure well.
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The mechanism of electron transportation from dye to transparent conductive oxide (TCO): (a) photoabsorption and electron excitation, (b) electron injection to TiO2 conduction band and inner charge separation, (c) dye reduction by iodide, (d) ambipolar diffusion of electron between nanocrystalline TiO2, and (e) real charge separation of electron‐cation pair.
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System of electron transfer in dye‐sensitized solar cells.
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Structure and electron movement in dye‐sensitized solar cells.
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Structures of a porphyrin dye for high‐efficiency dye‐sensitized solar cells (DSCs).
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Structures of ruthenium dyes: N3 (X+ = H+) and N719 (X+ = tetrabutylammonium: TBA+).
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Publication number of dye‐sensitized solar cells each year from 1989 to 2012. The data were obtained by an Internet searching system (SCOPUS, ELSEVIER). The searching keywords were ‘dye’, ‘solar’, and ‘cell’. The searched document type was limited only to ‘article’.
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Structure of solar cells: superstrate (left) and substrate (right) structures.
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