Imec perovskite breakthrough yields 11.9% efficiency

Imec, a Belgium-based research center of nano-electronics, has made a breakthrough in its perovskite research, achieving a record 11.9% active area efficiency for its thin film PV module.

Measured over an aperture area of 16cm2, Imec also achieved an aperture conversion efficiency of 11.3% – the highest conversion efficiency rate yet recorded in the field of perovskite development.

Incremental power conversion efficiencies over the past few years have been the hallmark of perovskite development, with further improvements required to make thin-film perovskite PV applications a viable option at large-scale for the solar industry.

Imec has itself stated that it is targeting conversion efficiencies in the region of 20% for perovskite thin film PV cells, and so still has a way to go before the technology can be scalable for industrial applications such as building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV).

"Imec is steadily improving the conversion efficiencies of its perovskite solar cells and at the same time adjusting the fabrication processes to enable industrial adoption of this promising technology," said Imec R&D manager for thin-film PV Tom Aernouts. "Leveraging our expertise in organic PV enables us to make rapid progress in enhancing the conversion efficiencies, ultimately aiming at efficiencies of more than 20% for this type of thin-film solar cell."

Using a linear coating technique for the cell’s solution-based layers, the perovskite module from Imec achieved a geometrical fill factor of more than 95%, leading to that record-breaking 11.9% active area efficiency. In June, Imec reported an 8% efficiency record for a similar-size PV module.

The research team has also developed a platform for glass-based perovskite modules in collaboration with Dutch-German-Flemish thin film PV research institute Solliance. Both glass-based and thin film perovskite PV technologies being developed by the two institutes are being eyed by the BIPV market as potentially pivotal technologies that could help the sector achieve wider adoption and growth.

Recent research identified microscopic flaws in perovskite crystals that – if properly removed – could accelerate conversion efficiencies in the technology.