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3D printed solar panels: Meet the renewable energy revolution. 3d solar cells

3D printed solar panels: Meet the renewable energy revolution. 3d solar cells

    Stabilization of 3D/2D perovskite heterostructures via inhibition of ion diffusion by cross-linked polymers for solar cells with improved performance

    Two-dimensional (2D) and quasi-2D modifications of three-dimensional (3D) perovskite active layers have contributed to advances in the performance of perovskite solar cells (PSCs). However, the ionic diffusion between the surface 2D and bulk 3D perovskites leads to the degradation of the 3D/2D perovskite heterostructures and limits the long-term stability of PSCs. Here we incorporate a cross-linked polymer (CLP) on the top of a 3D perovskite layer and then deposit a 2D perovskite layer via a vapour-assisted two-step process to form a 3D/CLP/2D perovskite heterostructure. Photoluminescence spectra and thickness-profiled elemental analysis indicate that the CLP stabilizes the heterostructure by inhibiting the diffusion of cations (formamidinium, FA and 4-fluorophenylethylammonium, 4F-PEA ) between the 2D and 3D perovskites. For devices based on carbon electrodes, we report small-area devices with an efficiency of 21.2% and mini-modules with an efficiency of 19.6%. Devices retain 90% of initial performance after 4,390 hours operation under maximum power point tracking and one-sun illumination at elevated temperatures.

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    Data availability

    All the data supporting the findings of this study are available within this article and its Supplementary Information. Any additional information can be obtained from corresponding authors upon request. Source data are provided with this paper.

    Acknowledgements

    This work was financially supported by National Key Research and Development Program of China (2020YFA0715000, L.M.; 2022YFB4200305, X.L. and Y.R.); National Natural Science Foundation of China (21875081, X.L.; 22279039, X.L.; 52172200, Y.R. and 52127816, L.M.); the Chinese National 1000-Talent-Plan programme (X.L.); the Science and Technology Department of Hubei Province (2021CFB315, Y.R.); the Innovation Project of Optics Valley Laboratory OVL2021BG008 (X.L.); the foundation of State Key Laboratory of New Textile Materials and Advanced Processing Technologies (grant number FZ2021011, X.L.), the Foundation of State Key Laboratory of Coal Conversion (grant number J18-19-913, X.L.). We thank the Analytical and Testing Center from HUST and the Center for Nanoscale Characterization and Devices (CNCD) from WNLO (HUST) for the facility support of sample measurements. We would like to thank Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics for performing TOF-SIMS. Z.W. acknowledges the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships Program of Canada.

    Author information

    Authors and Affiliations

    • Michael Grätzel Center for Mesoscopic Solar Cells, Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China Long Luo, Haipeng Zeng, Min Li, Shuai You, Shangzhi Li, Xueqing Cai, Weixi Li, Lin Li, Rui Guo, Wenxi Liang, Yaoguang Rong Xiong Li
    • Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Zaiwei Wang, Bin Chen, Aidan Maxwell Edward H. Sargent
    • State Key Laboratory of Advanced Technologies for Materials Synthesis and Processing, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, China Qinyou An, Lianmeng Cui, Liqiang Mai Yaoguang Rong
    • Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Deying Luo Zheng-Hong Lu
    • Department of Physics, Center for Optoelectronics Engineering Research, Yunnan University, Kunming, China Juntao Hu Zheng-Hong Lu
    • Vacuum Interconnected Nanotech Workstation (Nano-X), Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Suzhou, China Rong Huang
    • Hubei Longzhong Laboratory, Wuhan University of Technology (Xiangyang Demonstration Zone), Xiangyang, Hubei, China Liqiang Mai

    D printed solar panels: Meet the renewable energy revolution

    3D printing is becoming a major asset for the energy industry. specifically, the impact of additive manufacturing on renewable energy could be really interesting. Regarding the climate change situation, green energies are one of the biggest challenges of our century. As fossil fuels are progressively running out, we observe the development of electric cars, wind turbines and solar panels. But most of these devices are still quite expensive and need to be improved. Hopefully, some researchers are working on 3D printed solar panels in order to make the most of the sun, an inexhaustible resource.

    For example, did you know that 3D printing could be a great method to create solar panels? R esearchers are certifying that the production costs of solar panels could be reduced by 50% thanks to additive manufacturing. They could be even more efficient than traditional solar panels. We will see in this blogpost how the 3D printing technology is helping the renewable energy industry, and more specifically here, solar energy. We will also take a look at all the possibilities and researches made to 3D print solar cells in order to make 3D printed solar panels.

    Why is 3D printing useful in the energy industry?

    At Sculpteo, we know that 3D printing can be very useful for the energy industry. Indeed, if additive manufacturing can help various sectors such as the medical industry or even the architecture and construction field. it could also help the energy industry.

    Actually, digital manufacturing is a good solution to help you with your projects when it comes to energy. Using this manufacturing method could be a way to improve the quality of your products, and reduce your costs at the same time. The renewable energy industry needs to be more affordable, and additive manufacturing could be the perfect manufacturing process to do so. Let’s see how this technology could be a great help for you if you are planning to develop solar powered structures or any green energy devices.

    3D printing improves your product development process

    3D printing is actually a great method for prototyping. Indeed, it allows to prototype any project faster and at lower costs than with other traditional methods. You can work and rework on your 3D models endlessly on your 3D modeling software to get the design that will perfectly fit your needs and your project. You can do as many iterations as you want before producing your final product. Rapid prototyping is becoming easy as 3D printing is an accurate and quick manufacturing method.

    Using 3D printing: a great way to reduce costs

    If you are looking for a method to reduce your prototyping and production costs, you are in the right place. You can totally use 3D printing for prototyping or production, and it will reduce your costs. Indeed, you are only using the amount of material that you need for your project. over, making iterations thanks to 3D printing is less expensive than making iterations with injection molding. You don’t have to make a whole new mold and go through an expensive process each time you want a new prototype.

    3D printing for production

    If it is great to work on a prototype, digital manufacturing can also help you with your production process. It has great advantages: for example, you can 3D print small batches very easily. With additive manufacturing, you can control your production and order the exact number of printed parts that you need. It is great to produce your whole project or just some parts. On our online 3D printing service. you can choose among a large variety of 3D printing materials. and also among the finishes. 3D printing allows to get products with a great finish and that will last over time.

    Additive manufacturing, a great tool for researchers

    We will see later in this article that 3D printing is a good method to test new ideas and work on new materials. Researchers are always finding new applications and new manners to use this technology. In the energy industry, it enabled to work on new materials in order to create new clean energy devices such as 3D printed solar panels.

    D printed solar panels: How the 3D printing technology is useful for the renewable energy field?

    What is a solar panel?

    Solar panels are modules using solar power in order to create heat or electricity. These devices are made thanks to solar cells. The role of these solar cells is to convert the light into electricity thanks to physical and chemical phenomenons. Most of these solar modules are created with crystalline silicon, but researchers are making this technology evolve quite fast and new materials are appearing like the thin-film solar cells technology.

    This interesting energy device is still under development. The quality and the efficiency of traditional solar panels still have to be increased. That is why researchers interested in 3D printing are making their own experiments in order to create great 3D printed solar panels.

    3D printing is the best solution to create solar panels

    High costs are obviously a brake in the development of renewable energy. Indeed, these devices are still expensive, and they are not accessible to everyone. We saw how 3D printing could be a good tool to develop new projects, and solar panels are the perfect example.

    First, it requires a lot of researches and development in order to get efficient solar panels at the end. These panels require solar cells, a specific device originally made with expensive materials to convert light into electricity. Developing a brand new solar panel, using new materials with new technical properties, is obviously asking to make a lot of tests and prototypes. These kinds of projects have to be clear and you have to get good miniatures to demonstrate the whole project to your team, to investors or future customers. Here, 3D printing could be your ally, because it will allow you to get high quality prototypes, and you will be able to do all the iterations that you need. But if you want to use additive manufacturing to produce, you obviously have to be able to print the material that you need. For solar panels for example, you have to use a specific material to absorb the sunlight.

    So, in theory, 3D printers can help to get green energy at a lower cost. But does it really work?

    Are these 3D printed devices really advantageous?

    3D printed solar panels reduce the costs by 50%

    MIT researchers are certifying that the production costs of solar panels could be reduced by 50% thanks to additive manufacturing. Indeed, for these new constructions, expensive materials s uch as glass, polysilicon and indium are not required. What makes these projects doable are obviously the new materials that can now be 3D printed. For example, synthetic perovskite is now known to be a cheaper material to build photovoltaic structures.

    These devices are easy to implant in developing countries

    At least, it is possible to 3D print solar panels and they are cheaper than traditional glass panels. Indeed the 3D printed panels are lighter, because techniques are developed to print super thin solar strips. By reducing the weight, it also reduces the difficulties linked to their transport. As this technology is becoming affordable, it is now a good solution to make renewable energy accessible for anyone and transportable anywhere, including in developing countries that don’t have an easy access to electricity.

    3D printed solar panels are 20% more efficient

    Regarding the quality of these panels, they are also 20% more efficient than traditional panels, as new techniques, new 3D printing materials and new designs are now developed thanks to 3D printing. Solar industry needed a new innovation, and more than anything else, they needed a way to become more affordable. 3D printing is appearing to be the new revolution in this field.

    Creating solar panels thanks to 3D printing: how is it possible?

    A new 3D printed solar cell technology already exists. This technology could be a game changer for the renewable energy industry. Here are some examples of companies using 3D printing in order to create solar panels, or researchers looking for the best options to develop good solar cells.

    • At the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) they are using industrial 3D printers to print rolls of solar cells. These Australians scientists succeeded in creating A3 sheets of solar cells, that can be used on any surfaces such as Windows or building. These are functional and efficient solar panels. These solar cells are the largest ones, and they are created with flexible lightweight plastic. The scientists developed a photovoltaic ink, that they drop off on the flexible plastic strip. This whole process include gravure coating, slot-die coating and screen printing. Additive manufacturing helped them to produce an accurate system.
    • Australians are making the most of their solar energy, but they are not only 3D printing some solar cells. They are also able to 3D print a whole solar field. Australia has the most important solar irradiance in the world, it is the perfect area to experiment a whole 3D printed solar field.

    This is the project of The Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative (ASTRI), and his lead partner the CSIRO. This device is able to capture concentrated solar radiation as thermal energy. They are literally using a field of heliostats in order to concentrate sunlight between 50 and 1000 times its normal strength. The energy is sent to the receiver tower, that can store all the energy.

    The ASTRI put an STL file of this model on its website, allowing anybody to 3D print these solar panels.

    • At Sculpteo. some of our customers are working on solar energy and 3D printing as well. On the blog, we already told you about Simusolar, a company created in 2014 and willing to bring solar energy to the rural population of Tanzania. They develop and implement small-scale sustainable solutions to help local people in their everyday life. They decided to use 3D printing because they needed a lot of custom made parts. Who are their clients? Farmers, fishers, or rural residents looking for equipment powered by solar electricity.
    • The goal of Kyung-In Synthetic is to provide solar electricity in remote areas, without electricity. In order to do that, they decided to create solar panels thanks to the 3D printing technology. This project could actually provide electricity to more than 1 billion people and become a sustainable solution. These 3D printed solar panels are created using perovskite, a mineral composed of calcium titanate. The capabilities of these perovskite solar cells are improving year over year. They are actually able to create more than one year of full performance, without losing any efficiency. The future of this technology is really promising.
    • Engineers based in New Mexico, at the Sandia National Laboratories worked on solar receivers, proved to be 20% more efficient than traditional solar panels. They configured panels so they can absorb more sunlight than traditional ones. Indeed, thanks to their special structure, they are catching the light at different scales. Additive manufacturing allowed these engineers to create really complex geometries for their solar devices, making the whole process easier to manage. Indeed, they created panels with louvered structure, in order to trap the sunlight. With this system, there is no loss of energy. The light reflects into the receiver, and then, it is absorbed.

    Obviously, to produce such complex devices, new 3D printing materials and processes had to be developed. If solar panels seem difficult to produce, you can see with these examples, that it is totally possible to create 3D printed solar panels with easier and faster processes.

    The future of 3D printed solar panels

    3D printing in this field could quickly become a real asset. For example, it could allow mass-customization in this sector. People will be able to ask for custom 3D printed solar panels, designed especially for their own needs, with the right shape, the right size.

    The new 3D printing material that has been developed could really change the solar energy industry. over, these low cost and efficient structures will be perfect to create solar powered devices that could allow to bring electricity all around the world, even in remote areas.

    The energy sector and the 3D printing industry are becoming great partners. Together, they could clearly help to develop a lot of affordable green energy projects, in order to fight climate change. If you want to read about more projects linked to 3D printing and energy, read this blogpost on how 3D printing powers the future of energy.

    You want the latest 3D printing news regarding the renewable energy industry, subscribe to our weekly newsletter !

    DIY 3D Solar Panels Project

    Lately, there’s been a term popping up – 3D solar towers. We’re all familiar with the popular solar panels that are placed flat on a roof – they are designed to capture the energy from the sun, and they do a great job at it. However, when the angle of those rays changes, the panels aren’t as efficient as they were when the sun was directly overhead. While these types of solar panels are still good, there’s a new form of technology in town.

    In order to get around this issue, scientists have been conducting experiments with different forms of solar cell technologies, such as nanoscale 3D structures. Researchers have developed a 3D shape (3D solar tower) that allows much more power output than the traditional solar panel.

    This 3D configuration was put through a variety of tests under different seasons, latitudes, and weather. MIT labs conducted their own tests on these models, and during this time, researchers measured their performance.

    Researchers discovered that these towers are able to collect more sunlight than the flat solar panels – this is because they’re vertical. These cubes are even able to collect power from the sun when shadows or clouds block the sun.

    Using 3D Solar Power for Your Home

    People around the world have already started to take advantage of 3D solar power. The 3D solar tower configuration is so much better than the flat panels as the tower is capable of generating more energy than the flat panels. These towers are able to capture off-peak sunlight, making them highly efficient for use at home.

    These cubes can capture the sun in areas and under circumstances where traditional panels weren’t as effective. This new design is no longer messed up when the angle of the sun is lower, during the winter months, or in locations that are far from the equator.

    Benefits of Using 3D Solar Power for Your Home

    There is a reason so many people are using this new technology to power their home, and when you see all of the benefits, you’ll understand why.

    printed, solar, panels, meet, renewable

    Take a look at some of the benefits of using 3D solar power to power your home:

    • Energy Production – Highest energy production, and what’s cool about this is the fact that it doesn’t require as many solar panels as the traditional flat panels.
    • Bifacial PV Modules – Through the use of bifacial PV modules, the costs per kWh are reduced.
    • Even Energy – You can get between 10-20 times more energy, more sq meters than you would get with those old flat panels.
    • Compact – Being that they are horizontal, they don’t require as big of an area as the traditional flat panels.
    • Easy to Install – For those of you who are worried about the installation, don’t be. Believe it or not, the 3D Solar Towers are easy to install.
    • Power Production – During the morning and evening hours, as well as the winter months, when flat panels would have failed you, the 3D Solar Towers won’t.

    Flat Solar Panels vs. 3D Solar Towers for a Medium Size Home

    Let’s say you have a medium home with 3-bedrooms – you also have an electric car. Your annual electricity consumption is somewhere along the lines of 6000kWh. You selected the flat solar system, which includes 22 panels x250 w (5.5kW) – the gross area is 36 sq m, and this will produce n average of 6180kWh per year or 515kWh per month.

    When you compare the traditional flay system with the 3D system, it can produce 6180kWH per year with 16 modules, instead of the 22 that the flat solar system requires. The energy yield of the 3D tower is 2.5 times greater. This comes to a savings of 30% on the number of muddles being used and the area that is required.

    Who Should Use 3D Solar Towers?

    People of all walks of life use 3D Solar towers – they’re used by both home and business owners.

    Complex Surfaces – There are times when the traditional flat solar panel can’t be used. For those who have a complex architecture design, 3D solar towers will definitely come in handy. Years ago, due to the complex surface, you weren’t able to use solar panels, but now, thanks to the advancements in solar technologies, you’re now able to take advantage of the sunshine.

    Small Areas – Many of us have been there; we live in a home that has limited space. We want to take advantage of solar panels, yet we just don’t have anywhere to put those flat panels. For this reason, we have opted out of powering our home with solar energy. Now that horizontal systems exist, even those with limited space can use solar energy to power their home. So, for those of you who live in those densely inhabited urban areas, there’s good news here – you can use horizontal solar towers!

    Remote Areas – Let’s say you live in a remote village or a farm off the power grid. With 3D solar towers installed, you will now have power.

    Northern Climate Regions and Mountainous Areas – This includes countries such as Georgia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, and Austria – the areas that are hilly. With 3D solar towers, you’re now able to harvest enough power from the sun to power your home.

    Charging Stations – Off-grid fast-charging stations that power electric vehicles can even take advantage of 3D solar towers.

    Research and Military – Research and military facilities can use 3D Solar Towers as well. In fact, 3D solar towers are highly recommended for these facilities because they will help prevent blackouts.

    Charging Points for Drone Logistics – Automated on-demand transportation can take advantage of this technology. With the help of 3D solar towers, charging points can be set up.

    Bitcoin and Ethereum Mining Farms – Let’s face it; it takes a whole lot of power to run one of these mining farms. In fact, if you run a mining farm, the electric bill will go through the roof. By using solar energy, you can help lessen the costs that are associated with your mining.

    Floating Vessels and Platforms – Having a 3D solar tower installed on a floating platform, cargo vessel, superyacht, naval vessel, or commercial vessel is a great idea. This way, you won’t have to worry about being without power, even if you’re in the middle of the water.

    Using a 3D Solar Tower for Business

    It’s not just homeowners investing in 3D solar towers; even businesses around the world are using 3D solar towers. Solar panels help businesses achieve energy independence while slicing those electric bills. This solution would be great for companies with a fleet of electric vehicles or a parking business – this includes a delivery service, taxi service, and even post offices.

    Advantages of using a 3D Solar Tower for Your Business

    Save Money – When you start to use the sun to power your business, you will no longer have to worry about that huge electricity bill. Yes, you’ll have to pay for the solar technology, but that’s a one-time fee that you won’t have to worry about again. You will no longer have to worry about your energy expenses increasing.

    Carbon Footprint – Thanks to solar technology, people can now decrease their carbon footprint.

    Become a Green Leader – When you advertise your company/brand, you can mention that you’re a green leader. Many people are all about “going green in this day and age,” and when they see that a business has “gone green,” they will be likely to support them.

    Produce Energy – 3D Solar Towers can produce more energy than the traditional flat solar panels, which is a good reason to choose the solar tower over flat panels.

    You see, there are many reasons as to why a business should use 3D solar towers, so if you’re a business owner and you aren’t already taking advantage of this technology, we encourage you to give it a try.

    Backyard Revolution Solar System

    The Backyard Revolution Solar System is a good DIY 3D solar panel project.

    This may seem hard to believe, but you (yes, you) could build your very own 3D solar panel – there’s a good DIY 3D solar panel project available called the Backyard Revolution Solar System. It doesn’t cost a whole lot of money to make it (it’s nice knowing money is no longer an issue and we can have solar energy to power our household appliances). This is great for those looking for a DIY 3D solar panel project that isn’t hard to follow, and what’s really cool is it comes with its own video guide to show you everything you need to know in order to generate electricity.

    Zack Bennett created the Backyard Revolution and is great for those who are tired of paying what feels like an arm and a leg to power companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) discovered this form of electricity generating system during a time when people weren’t able to take advantage of solar panels because of the space required and the high cost. However, with this method, more and more people around the world are starting to use solar panels, and it doesn’t even require a whole lot of money or space to get it set up. Did I mention it doesn’t take much maintenance either?

    Let me explain this device to you real quick, so you can have an understanding of what Zack Bennet created …

    The device is a 3D-dimensional structure that offers more power than the traditional flat solar panels. The 3D-structure looks great, but when you get up close and personal with it, you’ll see that the horizontal tower actually consists of a series of solar panels that are overlapping. Each one of the solar panels has been individually placed in a way so that it can receive all of the sun rays in its glory.

    Zack Bennett has taken this little design and simplified it so that everyone can take advantage of it. In fact, Zack made it so simple and provided all of the steps needed that even a beginner could do it. It comes with a PDF that will tell you everything you need; it even gives diagrams and pictures, making it even easier for you to follow along so that you can set up your own solar panel – this is a process that should only take a couple of hours. As an additional bonus, you will receive an over-the-shoulder video that shows Zack building the “power plant.” By watching this video guide, you can see exactly how it’s done.

    MIT researchers released a report indicating that this 3D solar panel system can generate 20 times more energy than the normal flat solar panels. By having the solar panels hooked together on the vertical tower that’s in a zigzag shape, it makes it so that they’re able to collect as much sunlight as possible without taking up as much energy as a flat solar panel. Lately, we’ve noticed solar cells are getting cheaper, making it even easier (on your bank account) to build a DIY solar system like this.

    We’ve written a Comprehensive Backyard Revolution Solar System review Here if you want to explore the product in more depth after reading this article.

    The Price of a DIY Solar System

    The unique design of a 3D solar system may seem a bit high, but in all honesty, it’s not going to cost you more than 200. In fact, the cost could easily be under 200, depending on where you purchase your equipment. The 200 will also include the cost of tools, which you may be able to use for other DIY projects.

    Our Final Thoughts on DIY 3D Solar Panels

    You see, you don’t need a whole lot of money to be able to set up your own 3D solar system. Using Zack Bennet’s Backyard Revolution guide, you will have step-by-step instructions, making it easy for you to put together your very 3D solar panel. Once you have your 3D solar panel put together, you’ll be kissing those high electricity bills goodbye once and for all.

    Recent Progress in 2D/3D Multidimensional Metal Halide Perovskites Solar Cells

    Chuangye Ge 1. Y.Z.B Xue 2. Liang Li 3. Bin Tang 2 and Hanlin Hu 1

    • 1 Hoffmann Institute of Advanced Materials, Shenzhen Polytechnic, Shenzhen, China
    • 2 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China
    • 3 New York University Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

    The organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite solar cells with its great advances in the cost-efficient fabrication process and high-power conversion efficiency have outperformed a range of traditional photovoltaic technologies such as multi-crystal Si and CIGS. Meanwhile, the undesirable operational stability of perovskite solar cell lags its commercialization where perovskite solar cells suffer a lattice degradation and lost the capability of energy harvesting when encountering the crucial environmental factors such as high moisture and strong irradiation. Accordingly, improving the operational stability becomes one of the decisive factors to govern the next wave advancement of the perovskite solar cells. Among a plethora of reported strategies to improve the stability, building a multidimensional (2D/3D) heterojunction perovskite as the light-harvesting layer has recently become one of the most credible approaches to stabilize the PSCs without sacrificing of photovoltaic performance. In this mini-review, the recent progress in 2D/3D multidimensional PSCs has been elaborately reviewed. Detailed information including the long-chain cation materials, development of fabrication process, charge carrier dynamics, optoelectronic properties, and their impact on the photovoltaic performances has been systematically discussed. Finally, some of the further challenges are highlighted while outlining the perspectives of multidimensional 2D/3D perovskites for stable and high-performance PSCs.

    Introduction

    Organic-inorganic hybrid metal halide perovskite materials have shown lots of promising optoelectronic properties including high absorption coefficient, low exciton binding energy and high defect tolerance (Yan et al., 2018; Kim et al., 2020). Currently, the highest power conversion efficiency (PCE) of three-dimensional (3D) PSCs surpassed 25% (Li and Zhang, 2020), which is comparable with that of commercial silicon solar cells. However, poor stability is the main limitation hindering the commercialization of 3D PSCs. Researchers have devoted tremendous effort to enhance the stability of 3D PSCs and obtained inspiring progress through various approaches such as compositional engineering, interfacial regulation, defects passivation, device encapsulation, and so on (Zheng et al., 2017; Li et al., 2018a; Li and Zhang, 2020). Among them, the introduction of long-chain hydrophobic organic cations based two-dimensional (2D) perovskites is one potential strategy for the stability improvement specified as 2D/3D multidimensional heterojunction perovskites, which secures the long-term stability and high performance simultaneously (Zhang et al., 2018; Krishna et al., 2019). According to the recent studies, the long-chain hydrophobic and bulky organic spacer in 2D perovskites can effectively prevent the moisture adsorption and invasion at the perovskite surface, thereby retard the decomposition at the initial step (Ortiz-Cervantes et al., 2019; Zhang et al., 2020). Whereas, perovskites with pure 2D crystal structures are generally not desirable for high-performance PSCs, own to their wide Band gap and non-preferred crystallographic orientation where the former reduces the overall high harvesting and letter retards the vertical charge transfers (that is, the dissociated charge carriers injects into charge transport layers) (Zhang et al., 2020). Therefore, it is very essential to optimize the composition and orientation of the 2D/3D multidimensional perovskites and to combine the 2D perovskite with great moisture tolerances and 3D perovskite with distinct charge carrier dynamics to achieve the facile manipulation in the advanced PSCs. In this mini-review, we will mainly concentrate on the application of 2D/3D multidimensional perovskites in solar cells. First, we will give a introduction to the structural and optoelectronic properties of 2D perovskites. Then, the recent advances of 2D/3D multidimensional PSCs are systematically discussed in two different aspects based on the configuration of perovskite materials in the device. Finally, we will address some current challenges and give the perspectives for 2D/3D perovskites for PSCs with high efficiency and good stability.

    printed, solar, panels, meet, renewable

    Structure and Properties of 2D Perovskites

    In 1957, Ruddlesden and Popper firstly reported A2BO4 type compounds where the perovskites exhibit a layered crystal structure. In the metal-halide perovskites, a layered perovskite also adopts the same definition, namely Ruddlesden–Popper perovskites (Yan et al., 2018). The formula of such Ruddlesden–Popper layered perovskites is (RNH3)An-1BnX3n1 (n = 1, 2, 3, to ∞), where An-1BnX3n1 is the conductor layer of common 3D perovskite, including methylammonium (MA) lead iodide (MAPbI3), formamidinium (FA) lead iodide (FAPbI3), and cesium (Cs) lead iodide (CsPbI3). The 3D perovskites are separated from one another by the introduction of R–NH3, a long-chain aliphatic or aromatic alkylammonium cation, including phenyl-ethyl ammonium (PEA) and butylammonium (BA) (Zhang et al., 2018; Zhang et al., 2020). The n value in the formula represents the thickness or the number of layers of 3D perovskites which is tunable via controlling the stoichiometry of the precursor solutions. Compared with the 3D perovskites, the 2D layered perovskites possess some unique properties (Yan et al., 2018; Krishna et al., 2019; Ortiz-Cervantes et al., 2019). First, the hydrophobic nature of 2D R cations and the highly oriented structure enables the superior moisture resistance of 2D layered perovskites. Second, 2D perovskites have narrower absorption owing to their larger bandgaps, which varies with the number of 2D layers. Third, the insulation nature of the bulky organic cations with low conductivity of the 2D perovskites induces a multiple-pseudo quantum-well structure where the exciton dissociation is retarded caused by quantum confinement effect associated high exciton binding energy (Grancini and Nazeeruddin, 2019). over, the charge transport in 2D layered perovskites is anisotropic and highly dependent on the orientation of the 2D layered structure (Wang et al., 2019; Zhang et al., 2020). The charge mobility is much better along the in-plane inorganic perovskites sheets than out of plane organic sheets. The difficulty of out-of-plane charge transfer comes from the high interfacial resistance and thus perturbed charge carrier transport between 3D and 2D perovskite contacts (Wang et al., 2019). Furthermore, the material engineering of 2D perovskites can be easily implemented not only by alternating the composition of perovskite layers but also by the molecular design of the spacer cations, such as ammonium dications alkyl chain length, and introduction of the p-conjugated segment (Jagielski et al., 2017; Lan et al., 2019). Compared to 3D perovskites, there is a broad possibility of 2D perovskites in photo-physical investigation and practical devices applications. Figure 1 shown the chemical structure of the reported long organic-chain cations employed for the construction of 2D/3D multidimensional perovskites.

    FIGURE 1. Chemical structure of the reported organic cations employed for the construction of 2D/3D multidimensional perovskites.

    Mixed 2D/3D Multidimensional PSCs

    The concept of mixed 2D/3D multidimensional perovskites based PSCs was first proposed by Karunadasa et al. in 2014, in which a large PEA was mixed MA cations to form a Ruddlesden–Popper structure with the composition of (PEA)2(MA)2[Pb3I10] (n = 3) (Smith et al., 2014). The bandgap of the corresponding 2D and 3D perovskite was 2.10, 1.63 eV, respectively. The (PEA)2(MA)2[Pb3I10] based device displayed a high Voc of 1.18 V but a low PCE of 4.73%. over, this 2D/3D mixed perovskite film exhibited good long-term stability against moisture over 46 days of air exposure with relative humidity (RH) of 52%, while MAPbI3 was completely decomposed under the same condition. Inspired by this research, Guo and his co-workers applied a low-pressure vapor-assisted solution deposition approach (LP-VASP) to prepare a series of 2D/3D hybrid perovskite films by the chemical reaction between MAI vapor and the as-prepared PEAI-doped PbI2 film and in which the ratio of PEAI/PbI2 was tuned from 2 to 0 (Li et al., 2018b). The Champion device (PEAI/PbI2 = 0.05) achieves a PCE of 19.10% with a Jsc of 21.91 mA cm −2. a Voc of 1.08 V, and a remarkable fill factor (FF) of 80.36%. Similarly, Hu et al. incorporated PEA in the 2D/3D Pb-Sn alloyed perovskite solar cells through the anti-solvent engineering method and obtained a maximum PCE of 15.93% for the 2D/3D PEAxMA1-xPb0.5Sn0.5I3 based device (Zhang and Hu, 2020). According to their study, the enhanced photovoltaic performance can mainly attribute to the following reasons: the improved spin-orbit coupling (SOC) proved by photoexcitation-polarization dependent photocurrent studies benefits the charge dissociation; the enhanced out-of-plane photoinduced bulk polarization with reduced traps, evidenced by photoinduced impedance measurements and polarization-direction dependent photoluminescence (PL) characteristics, will align the optical transition dipoles and decrease nonradiative recombination loss. Meanwhile, based on the theoretical calculation by Jen’s group, the transition energy form the black phase to the yellow phase of FAPbI3 was raised due to the introduction of FEA. indicating the improved phase stability of FAPbI3 (Li et al., 2017). over, the hydrophobic PEA and I − can passivate the defects at lattice surface and grain boundaries, improving both performance and ambient stability. Nazeeruddin and co-workers reported 1-year stable PSCs with an exceptional gradually organized multidimensional interface at their 2D/3D perovskite junction, yielding the best PCE of 11.2% and stability for 10,000 h without any loss (Grancini et al., 2017). Unlike the work mentioned above, the 2D perovskite formed by self-assemble on the network of metal oxide layer after spin coating the precursor solution containing a small amount (3% molar ratio) of aminovaleric acid iodide (AVAI). The carboxylic acid group of the aminovaleric acid iodide facilitated the self-assembly of the 2D perovskite phase onto the scaffold of TiO2. over, the oriented growth of bulk 3D perovskite grain also can be promoted by this interface. As a result, this 2D/3D interface brings together the excellent stability of 2D perovskites and good charge transport of the 3D ones. Gao et al. presented a simple drop-casting approach to develop hybrid quasi-2D/3D perovskite films by employing PEA and iso-butylammonium (iso-BA) as spacer cations (Zuo et al., 2020). The crystal orientation, film morphology, and phase purity of the hybrid quasi-2D/3D perovskite films can be improved significantly via a simple N2 blow-drying process, involving methylammonium chloride (MACl) as an additive. Furthermore, an enhanced PCE of 16.0% is obtained and retains 91% of the initial value after 500 h with continuous one-sun illumination for an encapsulated device, indicating good durability. For the most case, researchers mainly FOCUS on how the incorporated 2D perovskite materials affect the light and moisture stability rather than the thermal stability of the mixed 2D/3D multidimensional perovskites. Mora-Seró et al. introduced dipropylammonium iodide (DipI) as cation to form 2D/3D perovskite materials with the general formula Dip2MAn−1PbnI3n1, where n = 3, 5, 10, 50, and 90. They evaluated the thermal stability by IR spectroscopy and the mixed perovskite material (n = 10) exhibited over 30% of the perovskite phase while 3D perovskite decomposed completely at 120°C for 240 min (Rodríguez-Romero et al., 2020). The Apart from PEAI and BAI, 2-thiophenemethylammonium (ThMA) (Zhou et al., 2019), n-propylammonium iodide (Yao et al., 2019), 1-(ammonium acetyl) pyrene (PEY) (Yang et al., 2018), ethane-1,2-diammonium (EDA) (Lu et al., 2017), dodecyl ammonium-chloride (DACl) (Ali et al., 2019), 2-choloro-ethylamine (CEA) and 2-bromo-ethylamine (BEA) (Liu et al., 2019), 4-(aminomethyl) benzoic acid hydroiodide (AB) (Hu et al., 2018b) have also been successfully applied to assemble 2D/3D heterojunctions to modify the PSCs, which has been proved to improve photovoltaic performance, moisture, light and heat resistance in a certain duration.

    Concerning the 2D perovskites formed over the grain boundaries, the defects in the grain boundaries are passivated. In general, passivated structures exhibit outstanding optical properties, and homogeneous morphology, fewer defect traps, resulting in a reduced hole-electron recombination. Various passivating agents have been investigated, including thiols, phosphines and phosphine oxides; amines and ammonium salts have also shown the capacity as grain boundary passivating agents. Zhang et al. fabricated 2D/3D heterostructured PSCs combining the advantages of the high-performance of 3D MAPbI3 and the air-stable bismuth-based 2D quasi-perovskite MA3Bi2I9 (Hu et al., 2018a). Herein, the hydrophobic MA3Bi2I9 platelets were vertically inserted among the MAPbI3 grains, forming a lattice-like structure to encompass 3D MAPbI3 perovskite grains. The optimal 2D/3D (9.2%) heterostructured device achieves a high efficiency of 18.97%, with less hysteresis and dramatically enhanced stability. Similarly, Song and his co-workers incorporated a long-chain cation EDBEPbI4 (EDBE = 2,2-(ethylenedioxy)bis(ethylammonium)) into 3D perovskites to construct a phase-segregated vertical heterojunction (PVHH) based 2D/3D multidimensional perovskite (Li et al., 2018c). The grain boundaries (GBs) of 3D perovskite are vertically passivated by phase pure 2D perovskite, which could weaken the photo-induced localization of charge-carrier in low-dimensional perovskites. The vertical passivation would not affect the extraction of charge carriers between 3D perovskite and the charge transfer layers. Efficient (21.06%) and highly stable (maintain 90% of the initial PCE after 3,000 h in the air) planar PSCs are demonstrated using these 2D/3D mixed multidimensional perovskite-based PSCs. This kind of passivation on the grain boundary has mostly been observed by post-treatment of the 3D perovskite with few amounts of A’ to form a really thin layer of 2D perovskite. It is difficult to identify that this modification might be responsible for the improvements in the PCE and long-term stability of 2D/3D mixed multidimensional perovskite-based solar cells. In consequence, significant effort should be devoted to elucidating the mechanisms for a different set of conditions and systems. The photovoltaic performance and stability data of some representative layered 2D/3D multidimensional perovskite solar cells are summarized in Table 1.

    Layered 2D/3D Multidimensional PSCS

    The schematic illustration of mixed 2D/3D and layered 2D/3D has been shown in Figure 2. Compared to 2D/3D mixed perovskites, the 2D perovskites can be inserted in a controllable way by tuning the stoichiometric composition and concentration of precursor solutions. over, the 2D perovskite mainly existed on the surface or the grain boundary of the 3D active layer, which could take all the advantages of both 2D and 3D perovskites. Generally, thin 2D perovskite films can be introduced as a capping layer on top of 3D perovskites by a two-step method: first, a 3D perovskite layer with excess PbI2 was spin-coated. Then, a solution of 2D organic cations (e.g., PEAI, BAI, OAI, 5-AVA) was coated on top of the 3D perovskites films. The as-prepared mixed 2D/3D perovskite layer usually shows longer photoluminescence lifetime and lower trap-state. In the work of Zhang and his co-workers, a thin layer of 2D (BA)2PbI4 was prepared via the chemical reaction between the post-treated n-butylamine iodide (BAI) and the residual PbI2 on a one-step deposited MAPbI3 film (Zou et al., 2019). The ultra-thin layer of 2D perovskite at the grain boundaries and on the surface of pristine 3D perovskite improves the stability and decreases the crystal defects of 3D perovskite. The obtained 2D/3D PSCs shows a PCE exceeds 18% and retains 80% of its initial value after over 2000 h of storage without encapsulation. Similarly, Lin et al. displayed an in situ growth approach to form a 2D perovskite capping layer by adding a small amount of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) into the BAI solution (Tai et al., 2019). The Champion device showed a PCE of 14.5% with significantly enhanced stability, maintaining over 80% PCE after exposure in ambient air (10% RH for 25 days and 25% RH for 25 days) for 50 days under dark conditions. This work developed a novel and effective strategy to prepare 2D/3D CsPbI3 photoabsorber with enhanced moisture stability and without sacrificing device performance. Grätzel and his co-workers proposed an approach for the stabilization of α phase of FAPbI3 with the protection of two-dimensional (2D) IBA2FAPb2I7 (IBA = iso-butylammonium and it showed excellent performance, specially, the stability maintain ∼85% of its initial efficiency with full illustration at 80°C for more than 500 h (Liu et al., 2020).

    FIGURE 2. Device structure schematics for 2D/3D multidimensional perovskites serving as an (A) 2D perovskite mixed with 3D perovskite; (B) 2D perovskite passivated 3D perovskite at the grain boundary; (C) 2D perovskite interfacial layer on top of 3D perovskite layer; (D) 2D perovskite interfacial layer at the bottom of 3D perovskite layer; (E) 2D perovskite interfacial layer at both the top and bottom of the 3D perovskite layer. Wherein, (1), (2), and (3) in each category displayed the schematic image, cross-sectional SEM image and related energy diagram, respcetively.

    On the other hand, the 2D perovskite films also can be deposited at the bottom of 3D perovskites utilizing the self-assembly and/or in situ formation method. Li et al. introduced branched polyethylenimine hydriodide (PEIHI) and invented an in situ formed 2D perovskite (PEI)2PbI4 on top of PEDOT:PSS as an interfacial layer for the development of stable and efficient MAPbX3 based PSCs (Yao et al., 2015). Herein, the role of (PEI)2PbI4 interfacial layer can be summarized as follows: 1) control over the grain growth and morphology of upper 3D perovskite films; 2) facilitate hole extraction from MAPbX3 into PEDOT:PSS by the alignment of the energy level; 3) enhance the stability by preventing moisture at the interface. Finally, the devices displayed the PCEs over 16% and 13.8% on rigid and flexible substrates, respectively, as well as enhanced moisture stability. Taking the advantages of this design, Loi has demonstrated all-tin-based hybrid PSCs based on 3D/2D (FASnI3/PEA2SnI4) with efficiencies of 9% (Shao et al., 2018). The addition of 2D tin perovskite facilitates the uniform growth of large crystalline and oriented FASnI3 grains at low temperatures. The merits of the stacked 3D/2D structure are: 1) reduced amount of grain boundaries; 2) suppression of the formation of tin vacancies or Sn 4 ; 3) prolonged lifetime of the charge carriers. This work provides a potential way for further improvement of tin-based PSCs. Park et al. prepared a thin layer of 2D perovskite (EDA2)(CH3NH3)P=I3n1) beneath the 3D perovskite which serves as a seeding layer for the growth of larger grains compared to that of the pure 3D perovskite films (Mahmud et al., 2020).

    Since a layer of the thin 2D interfacial film works either at the bottom or the top of the 3D perovskite layer, a design of 2D/3D/2D is proposed as a double-side (DS) surface modification. In the work of White et al., a novel design of a double-sided passivation approach is presented where thin surface layers of the bulky organic cation (n-butylammonium iodide) based halide compound forming 2D layered perovskite at both the top and bottom of the 3D perovskite films (Mahmud et al., 2020). Highly efficient (22.77%) 2D/3D/2D perovskite-based devices with a remarkable Voc of 1.2 V is reported for a perovskite film possessing an optical bandgap of approximately 1.6 eV. Both 2D layers effectively passivate interfacial defects and suppresses the interfacial carrier recombination at both the interfaces of perovskites/HTL and perovskites/ETL. The discontinuous passivation layers provide conductive pathways for the efficient carrier extraction between the 3D perovskite and the charge transport layers, leading to the improvement of both Voc and FF in DS passivated devices, compared to that of the unpassivated or single-side passivated device. The photovoltaic performance and stability data of some representative layered 2D/3D multidimensional perovskite solar cells are summarized in Table 2.

    TABLE 1. Photovoltaic performance and stability summary of representative mixed 2D/3D multidimensional perovskite solar cells

    TABLE 2. Photovoltaic performance and stability summary of representative layered 2D/3D multidimensional perovskite solar cells

    Challenges and Prospective

    In the past few years, many impressing achievements on the development of efficient and stable 2D/3D multidimensional PSC have been demonstrated, which helps to acquire in-depth understanding of the driving forces regarding lattice degradation under moisture/heat/light exposure and design coherent engineering methodologies to cope with these deficiencies. Although the introduction of 2D perovskites into 3D perovskite structures to form the 2D/3D multidimensional perovskite structures have been verified as a promising approach to improve the photovoltaic performance and device stability, there are several challenges have to be addressed.

    Challenges

    The significant difference of charge mobility along the out-of-plane and in-plane directions for 2D perovskites will remain a hot research topic for diverse optoelectronic applications. Besides, the bulk mixture of 2D/3D perovskite should be studied intensively regarding their capability in the enhancement of device performance. Meanwhile, accurate analysis of the crystal structure of 2D/3D perovskites should not be bypassed since it is essential for revealing the mechanism of 2D/3D perovskite formation and charge transport. Besides, a molecular library should be established by investigating the effect of different molecular lengths, conjugated groups, functional units, and the substituent groups on the charge-transfer capacity and other properties. In terms of the 2D/3D perovskite-based devices, they have presented an encouraging improvement in the matter of long-term stability, especially comparing with their corresponding 3D counterparts. Further technologic tailoring should direct on the efficiency enhancement about push the efficiency close the theoretical Shockley-queisser limit. In particular, while the introduction of 2D perovskites as interfacial layers has obtained some success, a full understanding of the roles of such layers and/or treatments still remain opaque. Additionally, in the Sn-based perovskites, reducing their dimensionality seems to be an effective approach to hinder their oxidation, but the photovoltaic performance still needs to be improved dramatically.

    Prospective

    2D/3D multidimensional hybrid perovskites have been proved as one of the most promising approaches to improve both PCE and stability compared to that of the pure 3D PSCs. In terms of material engineering, numerous kinds of novel 2D perovskites can be synthesized and the coherent unknown properties can be investigated. Besides, the newly raised theoretical computational study would speed up the process of 2D materials screening and application. In specific, the long alkyl chain cations seem to be suitable to stabilize the 2D Pb-Sn or Sn-based perovskites materials, the performance can be improved through the compositional or/and structural engineering. In addition, it is still vital to investigate the formation mechanism of 2D layered perovskites, which will enable us to prepare the 2D perovskites with high phase purity and out-of-plane orientation and to grow 2D/3D perovskite materials in a more controllable approach. Also, an in-depth understanding of the chemical or physical interplay between 2D and 3D perovskite materials, 2D/3D perovskite materials, and the adjacent charge transportation layers will help to obtain efficient and stable PSCs. With the increase of the bandgap, 2D perovskite might be ideal for tandem solar cells in the further advance of energy harvesting. In summary, the strategy of developing multidimensional 2D/3D perovskites provides an opportunity for efficient and stable PSCs, which will assist an ingenious modification of PSCs and to shed light on its future commercialization.

    Author Contributions

    HH and BT conceived the idea. CG wrote the manuscirpt. YX and LL were involved the manuscript discussion and correction.

    Funding

    The financial support from National Natural Science Foundation of China (62004129) is gratefully acknowledged and this work was also supported by Shenzhen Polytechnic.

    Conflict of Interest

    The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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    Keywords: multidimension, 2D/3D, perovksite, stability, solar cells

    Citation: Ge C, Xue Y, Li L, Tang B and Hu H (2020) Recent Progress in 2D/3D Multidimensional Metal Halide Perovskites Solar Cells. Front. Mater. 7:601179. doi: 10.3389/fmats.2020.601179

    Received: 31 August 2020; Accepted: 09 October 2020; Published: 29 October 2020.

    Annie Ng, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan

    Mannix Balanay, Nazarbayev University, KazakhstanMingjian Yuan, Nankai University, China

    Copyright © 2020 Ge, XUE, Li, Tang and Hu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the. The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

    This article is part of the Research Topic

    Advances in Perovskite Materials for Optoelectronic Applications

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