While the need for renewable energy around the world is growing exponentially, Lithuanian researchers have come up with a novel solution for developing low-cost solar technology. Material, synthesised by Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) Lithuania scientists, which self-assemble to form a molecular-thick electrode layer, presents a facile way of realising highly efficient perovskite single-junction and tandem solar cells. These findings have been recently published in Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) journal Energy & Environmental Science (DOI: 10.1021/acsenergylett.9b02262).
Achieving perovskite-based solar cells, combining low price and high efficiency, has proven to be a difficult endeavour in the past. The particular challenge in large-scale production is the high price and limited versatility of the available hole-selective contacts. KTU chemists have addressed this challenge. Developed monolayers can be called a perfect hole transporting material, as they are cheap, are formed by a scalable technique and have very good contact with perovskite materials. The self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) are as thin as 1-2 nm, covering the entire surface; molecules are deposited on the surface by dipping it into a diluted solution. 1 g of the material synthesised at KTU is enough to cover up to 1000 m2 of the surface.
The licence to produce the material synthesised at KTU laboratories was purchased by a Japanese company Tokyo Chemical Industry (TCI); the material called 2PACz and MeO-2PACz will soon appear on the market. This means that innovative technology using self-assembling compounds can be further researched in the best laboratories of the world and eventually find its way into industry.