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Atomic-scale insights into emergent photovoltaic absorbers

Ganose, Alex; (2018) Atomic-scale insights into emergent photovoltaic absorbers. Doctoral thesis (Eng.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The world is currently experiencing an energy crisis; as energy reserves continue to be depleted at record pace, there is a growing demand for a clean and renewable energy source capable of sustaining economic growth. Arguably, solar power is the most promising renewable technology due to the enormous amount of energy that reaches the earth in the form of solar radiation. Traditional solar cells, such as those based on crystalline silicon, have achieved efficiencies up to 25 % but are limited in their widespread application due to limits in their costcompetitiveness. Recently, the lead hybrid perovskites have emerged as a highly efficient class of solar absorber, with efficiencies reaching over 23 % within just nine years. Unfortunately, the stability of these materials is poor and concerns over the toxicity of lead have sparked significant research effort toward the search for alternative absorbers capable of achieving comparable efficiencies. This thesis investigates a number of materials for their suitability as solar absorbers. Throughout, ab initio methods are used to provide insight into the structural, electronic, and optical properties that determine their performance. Special attention is paid to understanding the behaviour of intrinsic defects due to their critical role in determining carrier recombination and transport. Initially, perovskite-based materials are discussed, including a new family of layered perovskites, and the lead-free vacancy-ordered double perovskites. In the second part of this thesis, the search for emerging photovoltaics is extended to a promising family of bismuth-based absorbers, of interest due to their non-toxic and earth-abundant nature. Throughout this work, we aim to provide specific guidance for experimental researchers hoping to produce more efficient photovoltaic devices.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Eng.D
Title: Atomic-scale insights into emergent photovoltaic absorbers
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Chemistry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10055446
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