Review Article | Published:

Metal halide perovskite tandem and multiple-junction photovoltaics

Nature Reviews Chemistry volume 1, Article number: 0095 (2017) | Download Citation

Abstract

Metal halide perovskite-based solar cells have attracted considerable attention in recent years owing to their inexpensive and easy fabrication and rapidly increasing efficiencies, which already match those of the industrially dominant multi-crystalline silicon. The incorporation of perovskite absorber materials into multiple (multi-)junction cells could potentially allow us to go well beyond silicon-based technology and reach even higher power conversion efficiencies. Layering multiple solar-absorber junctions on top of each other enables the absorption of different regions of the solar spectrum, so that more energy can be extracted from sunlight. The possibility of tuning the bandgap of perovskite materials over a wide range, along with the ability to generate high open-circuit voltages from wide-bandgap absorbers, make perovskites ideal candidates. Perovskites can be used in combination with or as a substitute for silicon in photovoltaic technologies already in use and can be assembled in hybrid tandem architectures or layered in all-perovskite multi-junction cells. In this Review, we discuss opportunities for perovskite multi-junction cells, explore the progress made so far, describe the theoretical possibilities and discuss perspectives and challenges for the future of this emergent technology.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    The irreversible momentum of clean energy. Science 355, 126–129 (2017).

  2. 2.

    et al. NREL U.S.solar photovoltaic system cost benchmark: Q1 2016 report. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2016).

  3. 3.

    United Nations. Adoption of the Paris agreement. United Nations (2015).

  4. 4.

    National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Best research-cell efficiencies. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2016).

  5. 5.

    & Detailed balance limit of efficiency of p-n junction solar cells. J. Appl. Phys. 32, 510 (1961).

  6. 6.

    et al. Four-junction wafer-bonded concentrator solar cells. IEEE J. Photovolta. 6, 343–349 (2016).

  7. 7.

    Detailed balance limit of the efficiency of tandem solar cells. J. Phys. D. Appl. Phys. 13, 839–846 (1980).

  8. 8.

    , , & Photovoltaic Solar Energy: From Fundamentals to Applications (Wiley, 2016). An up-to 2011 date book with an accessible introduction to various types of solar cells along with comprehensive discussions of more advanced concepts.

  9. 9.

    in Progress in Inorganic Chemistry Vol. 48 Ch. 1 (ed. Karlin, K. D.) (Wiley, 1999).

  10. 10.

    , & An extended tolerance factor approach for organic-inorganic perovskites. Chem. Sci. 6, 3430–3433 (2015).

  11. 11.

    , & Semiconducting tin and lead iodide perovskites with organic cations: phase transitions, high mobilities, and near-infrared photoluminescent properties. Inorg. Chem. 52, 9019–9038 (2013). The ‘bible 2019 of halide perovskite crystal structures and physical properties. A great resource that is as relevant now as when it was published.

  12. 12.

    , , , & Efficient hybrid solar cells based on meso-superstructured organometal halide perovskite. Science 338, 643–647 (2012). This is the seminal report of low voltage losses and>10% efficiencies in halide perovskites, which highlighted their promise.

  13. 13.

    et al. Lead iodide perovskite sensitized all-solid-state submicron thin film mesoscopic solar cell with efficiency exceeding 9%. Sci. Rep. 2, 591 (2012).

  14. 14.

    , , & Organometal halide perovskites as visible-light sensitizers for photovoltaic cells. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131, 6050–6051 (2009). The first instance of halide perovskites in solar cells 2014 where the field really started.

  15. 15.

    , , , & Chemical management for colorful, efficient, and stable inorganic-organic hybrid nanostructured solar cells. Nano Lett. 13, 1764–1769 (2013).

  16. 16.

    et al. Formamidinium lead trihalide: a broadly tunable perovskite for efficient planar heterojunction solar cells. Energy Environ. Sci. 7, 982–988 (2014).

  17. 17.

    et al. Mixed-organic-cation perovskite photovoltaics for enhanced solar-light harvesting. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 53, 3151–3157 (2014).

  18. 18.

    , , & Steric engineering of metal-halide perovskites with tunable optical band gaps. Nat. Commun. 5, 5757 (2014).

  19. 19.

    et al. High-performance photovoltaic perovskite layers fabricated through intramolecular exchange. Science. 348, 1234–1237 (2015).

  20. 20.

    et al. Lead-free organic–inorganic tin halide perovskites for photovoltaic applications. Energy Environ. Sci. 7, 3061–3068 (2014).

  21. 21.

    , , , & Lead-free solid-state organic–inorganic halide perovskite solar cells. Nat. Photonics 8, 489–494 (2014).

  22. 22.

    , , & Anomalous band gap behavior in mixed Sn and Pb perovskites enables broadening of absorption spectrum in solar cells. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 136, 8094–8099 (2014). The initial realization that Sn2013Pb alloys could provide anomalous bandgap narrowing did not initially attract much attention, but with the advent of efficient low-gap devices and their use in tandem cells, it is proving to possibly underlie the future of the field of perovskite rearch.

  23. 23.

    et al. Perovskite-perovskite tandem photovoltaics with optimized band gaps. Science 354, 861–865 (2016).

  24. 24.

    , , , & Antagonism between spin–orbit coupling and steric effects causes anomalous band gap evolution in the perovskite photovoltaic materials CH3NH3Sn1xPbxI3. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 6, 3503–3509 (2015).

  25. 25.

    & Updated assessment of possibilities and limits for solar cells. Adv. Mater. 26, 1622–1628 (2013).

  26. 26.

    Perovskites: the emergence of a new era for low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 4, 3623–3630 (2013).

  27. 27.

    et al. Reversible photo-induced trap formation in mixed-halide hybrid perovskites for photovoltaics. Chem. Sci. 6, 613–617 (2015). This paper reported halide segregation in mixed-halide perovskites and discussed its possible ramifications.

  28. 28.

    et al. A mixed-cation lead mixed-halide perovskite absorber for tandem solar cells. Science 351, 151–155 (2016).

  29. 29.

    et al. Cesium lead halide perovskites with improved stability for tandem solar cells. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 7, 746–751 (2016).

  30. 30.

    , , , & Stabilized wide bandgap MAPbBrxI3−x perovskite by enhanced grain size and improved crystallinity. Adv. Sci. (Weinh) 3, 1500301 (2016).

  31. 31.

    , & Light-induced phase segregation in halide-perovskite absorbers. ACS Energy Lett. 1, 1199–1205 (2016).

  32. 32.

    et al. Defect-assisted photoinduced halide segregation in mixed-halide perovskite thin films. ACS Energy Lett. 2, 1416–1424 (2017).

  33. 33.

    , , , & The path towards a high-performance solution-processed kesterite solar cell. Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells 95, 1421–1436 (2011).

  34. 34.

    et al. Organic-inorganic halide perovskite/crystalline silicon four-terminal tandem solar cells. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 17, 1619–1629 (2015).

  35. 35.

    , , , & Progress in tandem solar cells based on hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites. Adv. Energy Mater. 7, 1602400 (2017).

  36. 36.

    et al. Semi-transparent perovskite solar cells for tandems with silicon and CIGS. Energy Environ. Sci. 8, 956–963 (2014). The first four-terminal hybrid tandem cells that opened the field to the possibilities that lie ahead. Efficiencies were already impressive at 18.6%.

  37. 37.

    et al. High-performance semitransparent perovskite solar cells with solution-processed silver nanowires as top electrodes. Nanoscale 7, 1642–1649 (2015).

  38. 38.

    et al. High-efficiency polycrystalline thin film tandem solar cells. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 6, 2676–2681 (2015).

  39. 39.

    et al. Sputtered rear electrode with broadband transparency for perovskite solar cells. Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells 141, 407–413 (2015).

  40. 40.

    et al. Low-temperature-processed efficient semi-transparent planar perovskite solar cells for bifacial and tandem applications. Nat. Commun. 6, 8932 (2015).

  41. 41.

    et al. Interfacial electronic structure at the CH3NH3PbI3/MoOx interface. Appl. Phys. Lett. 106, 193903 (2015).

  42. 42.

    et al. Thermal and environmental stability of semi-transparent perovskite solar cells for tandems enabled by a solution-processed nanoparticle buffer layer and sputtered ITO electrode. Adv. Mater. 28, 3937–3943 (2016).

  43. 43.

    et al. Multilayer transparent top electrode for solution processed perovskite/Cu(In,Ga)(Se,S)2 four terminal tandem solar cells. ACS Nano 9, 7714–7721 (2015).

  44. 44.

    et al. Efficient semitransparent perovskite solar cells for 23.0%-efficiency perovskite/silicon four-terminal tandem cells. Adv. Energy Mater. 6, 1601128 (2016).

  45. 45.

    et al. Efficient near-infrared-transparent perovskite solar cells enabling direct comparison of 4-terminal and monolithic perovskite/silicon tandem cells. ACS Energy Lett. 1, 474–480 (2016).

  46. 46.

    et al. Rubidium multication perovskite with optimized bandgap for perovskite-silicon tandem with over 26% efficiency. Adv. Energy Mater. 7, 1700228 (2017).

  47. 47.

    , , , & Perovskite-kesterite monolithic tandem solar cells with high open-circuit voltage. Appl. Phys. Lett. 105, 173902 (2014).

  48. 48.

    et al. Monolithic perovskite-CIGS tandem solar cells via in situ band gap engineering. Adv. Energy Mater. 5, 1500799 (2015).

  49. 49.

    et al. A 2-terminal perovskite/silicon multijunction solar cell enabled by a silicon tunnel junction. Appl. Phys. Lett. 106, 121105 (2015).

  50. 50.

    , , , & Morphological control for high performance, solution-processed planar heterojunction perovskite solar cells. Adv. Funct. Mater. 24, 151–157 (2014).

  51. 51.

    et al. Monolithic perovskite/silicon-heterojunction tandem solar cells processed at low temperature. Energy Environ. Sci. 9, 81–88 (2016).

  52. 52.

    et al. Efficient monolithic perovskite/silicon tandem solar cell with cell area >1 cm2. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 7, 161–166 (2016).

  53. 53.

    et al. 23.6%-efficient monolithic perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells with improved stability. Nat. Energy 2, 17009 (2017). The most efficient two-terminal hybrid tandem to date is an impressive feat of engineering and also shows excellent stability.

  54. 54.

    et al. Perovskite/polymer monolithic hybrid tandem solar cells utilizing a low-temperature, full solution process. Mater. Horiz. 2, 203–211 (2015).

  55. 55.

    et al. High efficiency tandem thin-perovskite/polymer solar cells with a graded recombination layer. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 8, 7070–7076 (2016).

  56. 56.

    & CH3NH3PbBr3–CH3NH3PbI3 perovskite-perovskite tandem solar cells with exceeding 2.2 V open circuit voltage. Adv. Mater. 28, 5121–5125 (2016).

  57. 57.

    et al. A two-terminal perovskite/perovskite tandem solar cell. J. Mater. Chem. A 4, 1208–1213 (2015).

  58. 58.

    et al. Stable low-bandgap Pb-Sn binary perovskites for tandem solar cells. Adv. Mater. 28, 8990–8997 (2016).

  59. 59.

    et al. Fabrication of efficient low-bandgap perovskite solar cells by combining formamidinium tin iodide with methylammonium lead iodide. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 138, 12360–12363 (2016).

  60. 60.

    et al. Low-bandgap mixed tin–lead iodide perovskite absorbers with long carrier lifetimes for all-perovskite tandem solar cells. Nat. Energy 2, 17018 (2017).

  61. 61.

    et al. Efficient monolithic perovskite/perovskite tandem solar cells. Adv. Energy Mater. 7, 1602121 (2017).

  62. 62.

    et al. Optical properties and limiting photocurrent of thin-film perovskite solar cells. Energy Environ. Sci. 8, 602–609 (2015).

  63. 63.

    et al. Complex refractive index spectra of CH3NH3PbI3 perovskite thin films determined by spectroscopic ellipsometry and spectrophotometry. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 6, 66–71 (2015).

  64. 64.

    , , , & Electro-optics of perovskite solar cells. Nat. Photonics 9, 106–112 (2014).

  65. 65.

    , & Optics and light trapping for tandem solar cells on silicon. IEEE J. Photovolt. 4, 1380–1386 (2014).

  66. 66.

    et al. Organic-inorganic halide perovskites: perspectives for silicon-based tandem solar cells. IEEE J. Photovolt. 4, 1545–1551 (2014).

  67. 67.

    , , & 3D optical modeling of thin-film silicon solar cells on diffraction gratings. Prog. Photovolt. 21, 94–108 (2013).

  68. 68.

    , , , & Three dimensional optical modeling of amorphous silicon thin film solar cells using the finite-difference time-domain method including real randomly surface topographies. J. Appl. Phys. 110, 23102 (2011).

  69. 69.

    , & Modeling photocurrent action spectra of photovoltaic devices based on organic thin films. J. Appl. Phys. 487, 487–496 (2011).

  70. 70.

    Generalized matrix method for calculation of internal light energy flux in mixed coherent and incoherent multilayers. Appl. Opt. 44, 7532–7539 (2005).

  71. 71.

    et al. Optical properties of organometal halide perovskite thin films and general device structure design rules for perovskite single and tandem solar cells. J. Mater. Chem. A 3, 9152–9159 (2015).

  72. 72.

    et al. CH3NH3PbI3 perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells: characterization based optical simulations. Opt. Express 23, A263–A278 (2015).

  73. 73.

    , , & Design guidelines for perovskite/silicon 2-terminal tandem solar cells: an optical study. Opt. Express 24, A1454–A1470 (2016).

  74. 74.

    , , & Bifacial Si heterojunction-perovskite organic-inorganic tandem to produce highly efficient (η*T33%) solar cell. Appl. Phys. Lett. 106, 243902 (2015).

  75. 75.

    , , & Pyramidal surface textures for light trapping and antireflection in perovskite-on-silicon tandem solar cells. Opt. Express 22, A1422–A1430 (2014).

  76. 76.

    & Light-trapping design for thin-film silicon-perovskite tandem solar cells. J. Appl. Phys. 120, 103103 (2016).

  77. 77.

    et al. Minimizing optical losses in monolithic perovskite/c-Si tandem solar cells with a flat top cell. Opt. Express 24, A1288–A1299 (2016).

  78. 78.

    et al. Combination of advanced optical modelling with electrical simulation for performance evaluation of practical 4-terminal perovskite/c-Si tandem modules. Energy Procedia 92, 669–677 (2016).

  79. 79.

    et al. Towards optical optimization of planar monolithic perovskite/silicon-heterojunction tandem solar cells. J. Opt. 18, 064012 (2016).

  80. 80.

    et al. Optical analysis of CH3NH3SnxPb1–xI3 absorbers: a roadmap for perovskite-on-perovskite tandem solar cells. J. Mater. Chem. A 4, 11214–11221 (2016).

  81. 81.

    et al. The realistic energy yield potential of GaAs-on-Si tandem solar cells: a theoretical case study. Opt. Express 23, A382–A390 (2015).

  82. 82.

    et al. Energy-yield prediction for II–VI-based thin-film tandem solar cells. Energy Environ. Sci. 9, 2644–2653 (2016).

  83. 83.

    , , & On the methodology of energy yield assessment for one-Sun tandem solar cells. Sol. Energy 135, 598–604 (2016).

  84. 84.

    , , , & Impact of spectral effects on the electrical parameters of multijunction amorphous silicon cells. Proc. 3rd World Conf. on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion Vol. 2, 1756–1759 (IEEE, 2003).

  85. 85.

    et al. Modelling long-term module performance based on realistic reporting conditions with consideration to spectral effects. Proc. 3rd World Conf. on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion Vol. 2, 1908–1911 (IEEE, 2003).

  86. 86.

    & Efficiency limit of perovskite/Si tandem solar cells. ACS Energy Lett. 1, 863–868 (2016).

  87. 87.

    & Predicting and optimising the energy yield of perovskite-on-silicon tandem solar cells under real world conditions. Energy Environ. Sci. 10, 1983–1993 (2017).

  88. 88.

    et al. Energy yield potential of perovskite-silicon tandem devices. Photovolt Special. Conf. (2016).

  89. 89.

    & Modeling the performance limitations and prospects of perovskite/Si tandem solar cells under realistic operating conditions. ACS Energy Lett. 2, 2089–2095 (2017).

  90. 90.

    et al. The potential of multi-junction perovskite solar cells. ACS Energy Lett. 2, 2506–2513(2017).

  91. 91.

    et al. A manufacturing cost estimation method with uncertainty analysis and its application to perovskite on glass photovoltaic modules. Prog. Photovolt. 25, 390–405 (2017).

  92. 92.

    et al. Improving efficiency and stability of perovskite solar cells with photocurable fluoropolymers. Science 354, 203–206 (2016).

  93. 93.

    Compositional and non-uniformity requirements for commercial scale silicon perovskite tandem solar cells. Materials Research Society (2017).

Download references

Acknowledgements

G.E.E. is supported by the European Union's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 (2014–2020) under the Marie Skłodowska–Curie Grant Agreement No. 699935. M.T.H. was funded by Oxford PV Ltd. H.J.S. is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), UK.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Chemistry, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.

    • Giles E. Eperon
  2. Cavendish Laboratory, JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 OHE, UK.

    • Giles E. Eperon
  3. Department of Physics, Clarendon Laboratory, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PU, UK.

    • Maximilian T. Hörantner
    •  & Henry J. Snaith
  4. Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

    • Maximilian T. Hörantner

Authors

  1. Search for Giles E. Eperon in:

  2. Search for Maximilian T. Hörantner in:

  3. Search for Henry J. Snaith in:

Contributions

All authors contributed equally to the preparation of this manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Giles E. Eperon or Henry J. Snaith.

Glossary

Power conversion efficiency

(PCE). The most important metric of a solar cell. It is the fraction of incident solar power that is converted into electrical power at the ideal operating voltage and is defined as PCE = Voc × Jsc × FF/Pin, where Pin is the incident power density and FF is the fill factor. It is normally defined at the standard test illumination of 100 mW cm−2 with the AM1.5 spectrum.

Short-circuit current

(Jsc). Effectively, the maximum current that the cell can provide under standard illumination conditions due to the collection of photogenerated carriers when held at short circuit (that is, zero volts across the junction).

Open-circuit voltage

(Voc). The voltage built up in a solar cell under standard illumination conditions when no current is allowed to flow out of the cell. Its value depends on factors including the bandgap of the absorber, the electron–hole recombination rate, the carrier diffusion length and the defect density in the cell.

External quantum efficiency

(EQE.) Number of carriers collected relative to the number of photons incident on the cell. The EQE of a cell defines the Jsc by integrating the product of the EQE and the AM 1.5G solar spectrum.

Lambertian models

Describe light trapping within a solar cell resulting from light that is reflected through a Lambertian reflector, which has an isotropic radiance; the luminous intensity is proportional to the cosine of the angle between incident light and normal.

Fresnel coefficients

Coefficients resulting from Fresnel's equations, which define the transmission and reflectance of an electric field at an interface between two homogeneous media as a function of angle of incidence.

Fill factor

Ratio of the power produced at the maximum power point voltage to the product of >Jsc and Voc. The maximum power point voltage is that at which voltage × current, that is, power, is maximum and the PCE is defined.

Detailed balance theory

Originally proposed by Shockley and Queisser, it allows the calculation of the thermodynamic efficiency limit of solar cells by taking into account the balance between absorbed and emitted photon flux.

Roll-to-roll processing

The process of creating devices on a continuous roll of flexible plastic or metal foil. If solar cells could be fabricated in this way, it is thought that the production cost could be a fraction of that for current wafer-based and module-based production processes.

About this article

Publication history

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41570-017-0095