Interface and Electronic Materials Laboratory
While conventional silicon solar cells are a strong technology, an overwhelming drawback is the use of very high doping in contacts and carrier separation layers. This prevents further increases in their power conversion efficiencies. Passivating carrier-selective contacts have been recently demonstrated using nanolayer thin films. These materials can allow cell architectures that overcome the drawbacks of current technologies, and are potentially much more cost effective. Ion charged dielectrics are a class of thin-film material that possess a permanent charge. The charge storage capability of these materials makes them essential to a wide range of applications, from telecommunications to air filters and biomedical devices. At Oxford Materials, we have developed new methods to produce substantial concentrations of charge in dielectric thin films, in to fully exploit their potential in making of devices. This project aims to discover new dielectric-ion combinations and apply them to the manufacture of tandem solar cell architectures. The project will involve establishing a reproducible and controllable method of growing nanometre scale thin films using different synthesis methods, followed by delivery of new precursor ions, and their drive in into the dielectric. After the methodology is stablished the novel ion-charged dielectric systems can be integrated into final tandem devices, and their performance will need to be characterised in collaboration with Prof Henry Snaith's laboratory in Oxford Physics. This project requires hands-on electrical and optical measurements of materials, as well as data processing, analysis, and modelling of the observed current transport characteristics. Ultrathin dielectric films will be employed in the next generation of silicon solar cells to produce architectures with minimum losses. As such this project feed in the Lab’s aim of improving future photovoltaics technology to help accelerate the green energy transition.