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High-speed sequential deposition of photoactive layers for organic solar cell manufacturing

Abstract

Despite the great success of organic photovoltaics in terms of device efficiency and stability at the laboratory scale, pressing demand for high-throughput and cost-effective solutions remains unresolved and rarely reported. Here we propose that a sequential-deposition, blade-coating approach using donor and acceptor materials can facilitate high-speed fabrication of photoactive layers while maintaining device performance. The sequential-deposition-processed blend and thickness of its designed PM6:T8 system can be optimized by the fine-tuning of the solution concentrations and coating speeds. We show that this strategy can be applied to a non-halogenated solvent and under high-humidity conditions. This high-speed approach is applicable to other non-fullerene photovoltaic systems and the slot-die coating technique. Techno-economic analysis suggests that this strategy can decrease the minimum sustainable price of module manufacturing. Overall, this work represents a step towards the scalable, cost-effective manufacturing of organic photovoltaics with both high performance and high throughput.

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Fig. 1: Molecular structures, solution-processing techniques and photovoltaic properties.
Fig. 2: Photovoltaic properties and device stability.
Fig. 3: Morphological characterizations and physical dynamics investigations.
Fig. 4: Device performance of various photovoltaic systems.
Fig. 5: High-speed BHJ and LbL devices fabricated using the SDC technique.
Fig. 6: Module performance, manufacturing cost and MSP analysis.

Data availability

All of the data generated or analysed during this study are included in the published article and its Supplementary Information files. Source data are provided with this paper.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported financially by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant numbers 52061135206 and 22279094 to J.M.) and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (to J.M.). We thank the Core Facility of Wuhan University for the optical microscope and AFM measurements.

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Authors

Contributions

R.S. and J.M. conceived of the ideas. R.S. fabricated all of the solar cell samples, conducted the measurements and performed the data analysis. T.W. and X.Y. contributed to synthesizing the T8 and PM6-Ir1 materials. Y. Wu contributed to synthesizing the Y6 and N3 materials. Y. Wang, M.Z. and Y.L. contributed to conducting the TEM measurements. R.S. and Q.W. contributed to conducting the module fabrication. R.S. and Y. Wu studied the techno-economic analysis. C.J.B., R.S. and J.M. contributed to manuscript preparation. R.S. conceived of and directed the project while being supervised by J.M. All authors commented on the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jie Min.

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Nature Energy thanks Seok-In Na, Leonard Ng and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary information

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Supplementary Scheme 1, Figs. 1–46, Tables 1–40 and Notes 1–3.

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Sun, R., Wang, T., Yang, X. et al. High-speed sequential deposition of photoactive layers for organic solar cell manufacturing. Nat Energy 7, 1087–1099 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-022-01140-4

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