PhD: Perovskite solar cell modules: getting to the next level


Assessing PSC modules with an application-oriented mindset will allow you to contribute to the industry penetration of imec’s state-of-the-art perovskite photovoltaics

Perovskite solar cell (PSC) research is flourishing in the last years. This technology is promising in terms of PV applications aside from traditional PV power plants. New products involve PV modules becoming part of facades, car tops, IoT, wearables or even flexible substrates such as fabrics or plastic foils. With efficiencies that already equal mature technologies such as Silicon, CIGS and CdTe, PSC unlock the development of cheap multijunction solar cells with efficiencies higher than 30%. Moreover, perovskites deposition methods allow increased flexibility to shape the ending module to create alternative designs or shapes.  

A successful jump to industrial production needs to pay attention to module upscaling and operational stability. Some of the deposition techniques used in small area devices are incompatible with large area production. Perovskite properties may differ when the deposition method used is changed into high throughput techniques. A thorough understanding in terms of material properties, ion mobility or formation of metastable states is needed to control its impact in the modules lifetime. A number of material characterization techniques (spectroscopic, imaging, ) will be available to gain insight in the material properties and potential loss mechanisms.  

More than for traditional PV technologies, module interconnections optimization becomes crucial to maximize efficiencies and lower potential failures. Optimization of the conventional P1-P2-P3 scribes is proposed but also investigation of new concepts such as backend interconnection, point contact or assemblies of modules able to deliver a specific power. For this purpose, a laser scribing tool will be used, and new experimental setups will be developed and/or improved.  

The module development must grow with the application-oriented mindset. Some applications will need extensive study of module behavior under “indoor” conditions, therefore lower illumination levels and a variety of light source spectra.  Other applications will need an understanding of the performance of the module under different angles or partial shading. The use of spectrometers, a home built indoor illumination simulator and new experimental setups to study these performances will be required.  

The devices will undergo reliability acceptance tests that will position them closer to integration in the industry. The starting point will be mono stress tests (temperature, air exposure, etc) combined with imaging techniques to possibly identify degradation mechanisms. Industrially relevant tests described by IEC such as dump heat or thermal cycling will be applied.

The project will be conducted in an interdisciplinary and multicultural team of highly skilled scientists and engineers that work towards the next generation of PV technology. The research will be developed in the newly built laboratories at EnergyVille, Genk, working in one of the world’s premier research centers in nanotechnology. 


Required background: Master in Engineering Technology, Master in Physics

Type of work: 80% experimental, 5% modeling, 15% literature

Supervisor: Michael Daenen

Co-supervisor: Jef Poortmans

Daily advisor: Aranzazu Aguirre

Apply here