Switzerland's R&D of new thin-film solar cells achieves a record high photoelectric conversion rate

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According to the report of the Physicist Organization Network on January 17, a research group of the Swiss Federal Institute of Materials Science and Technology (Empa) has developed a new type of thin-film solar cell, using CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) as a photoelectric conversion material, which is flexible and flexible. The polymer used as a substrate, its photoelectric conversion rate reached 20.4%. The previous world record was 18.7% achieved by the research team in May 2011.

In order to produce large-scale solar cells that people can afford, scientists all over the world have been committed to the development of low-cost solar cells, while also being efficient, high-yield, and easy to manufacture. CIGS is extremely cost-effective in solar cells. Recently, the Ajotea Tiwari research team of the Film and Photovoltaic Laboratory of the Swiss Federal Institute for Materials Science and Technology succeeded in improving the properties of the CICS layer, enabling it to grow at lower temperatures and finally increasing the photoelectric conversion rate. To 20.4%.

This efficiency value was certified by the German Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) and even surpassed glass-based CICS solar cells (20.3%), which is already equivalent to the highest efficiency of polysilicon solar cells. Tivari said: "We are making up for the efficiency gap between thin-film solar cells and silicon solar cells."

The researchers pointed out that the earliest world record was 12.8% achieved in 1999, 14.1% in 2005, 17.6% in 2010, and 18.7% by 2011. To date, they have nearly doubled the photoelectric conversion rate of flexible CIGS solar cells. "This series of records for flexible CICS solar cells can be compared with the best performance of polycrystalline silicon solar cells," said Gian Luca Ponah, director of the Swiss Federal Institute of Materials Science and Technology.

For many applications, ultra-thin, lightweight, flexible and flexible high-performance solar modules are attractive, such as solar power plants, solar roofs and architectural surfaces, automobiles, and portable electronic devices. It can also be manufactured using a continuous "roll-to-roll" process, which further reduces the cost to a level comparable to standard silicon cell technology.

"The next step is to work with industrial partners to expand the scale of the technology and occupy a large market with the cost-effective advantage of the 'roll-to-roll' manufacturing process," said Poener. To this end, they are working with a startup company called Flisom to produce flexible CICS solar cells industrially. (Chang Lijun)

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