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Tandem solar cell world record

April 14, 2020
Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie
A special branch in the famous NREL-chart for solar cell world records refers to a newly developed tandem solar cell. The world-record cell combines the semiconductors perovskite and CIGS to a monolithic 'two-terminal' tandem cell. Due to the thin-film technologies used, such tandem cells survive much longer in space and can even be produced on flexible films. The new tandem cell achieves a certified efficiency of 24.16 percent.

Tandem cells combine two different semiconductors that convert different parts of the light spectrum into electrical energy. Metal-halide perovskite compounds mainly use the visible parts of the spectrum, while CIGS semiconductors convert rather the infrared light. CIGS cells, which consist of copper, indium, gallium and selenium, can be deposited as thin-films with a total thickness of only 3 to 4 micrometers; the perovskite layers are even much thinner at 0.5 micrometers. The new tandem solar cell made of CIGS and perovskite thus has a thickness of well below 5 micrometers, which would allow the production of flexible solar modules.

"This combination is also extremely light weight and stable against irradiation, and could be suitable for applications in satellite technology in space," says Prof. Dr. Steve Albrecht, HZB. These results, obtained in a big collaboration, have been just published in the journal JOULE.

"This time, we have connected the bottom cell (CIGS) directly with the top cell (perovskite), so that the tandem cell has only two electrical contacts, so-called terminals," explains Dr. Christian Kaufmann from PVcomB at HZB, who developed the CIGS bottom cell with his team and he adds "Especially the introduction of rubidium has significantly improved the CIGS absorber material."

Albrecht and his team have deposited in the HySPRINT lab at HZB the perovskite layer directly on the rough CIGS layer. "We used a trick that we had previously developed," explains former postdoc from Albrecht's group Dr. Marko Jošt, who is now a scientist at the University of Ljubjana, Slovenia. They applied so-called SAM molecules to the CIGS layer, which form a self-organised monomolecular layer, improving the contact between perovskite and CIGS.

The new perovskite CIGS tandem cell achieves an efficiency of 24.16 percent. This value has been officially certified by the CalLab of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE).

Since such "2 Terminal" tandem cells made of CIGS and perovskite now represent a separate category, the National Renewable Energy Lab NREL, USA, has created a new branch on the famous NREL chart for this purpose. This chart shows the development of efficiencies for almost all solar cell types since 1976. Perovskite compounds have only been included since 2013 -- the efficiency of this material class has increased more steeply than any other material.

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Journal Reference:

  1. Felix Lang, Marko Jošt, Kyle Frohna, Eike Köhnen, Amran Al-Ashouri, Alan R. Bowman, Tobias Bertram, Anna Belen Morales-Vilches, Dibyashree Koushik, Elizabeth M. Tennyson, Krzysztof Galkowski, Giovanni Landi, Mariadriana Creatore, Bernd Stannowski, Christian A. Kaufmann, Jürgen Bundesmann, Jörg Rappich, Bernd Rech, Andrea Denker, Steve Albrecht, Heinz-Christoph Neitzert, Norbert H. Nickel, Samuel D. Stranks. Proton Radiation Hardness of Perovskite Tandem Photovoltaics. Joule, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.joule.2020.03.006

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Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie. "Tandem solar cell world record." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 April 2020. <>.
Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie. (2020, April 14). Tandem solar cell world record. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 7, 2023 from
Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie. "Tandem solar cell world record." ScienceDaily. (accessed December 7, 2023).

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