The highest solar cell efficiencies are obtained with concentrating systems. However, these systems have two major drawbacks: solar tracking is needed and diffuse sunlight is poorly absorbed. Here, a system that overcomes both limitations is presented, by exploiting light-induced halide segregation in mixed halide perovskite films. A monolayer of silica microspheres focuses direct sunlight in a mixed halide perovskite film below. Through light-induced phase segregation a low bandgap region forms in the focal point. Together with funneling of excited states toward the low bandgap regions, this results in a voltage increase characteristic for concentrating systems. Diffuse sunlight is still absorbed by the high bandgap material, avoiding the loss of diffuse sunlight characteristic for conventional concentrators. The formation of low bandgap regions in the perovskite is dynamic, and can follow the position of the focus as the sun moves throughout the day, making solar tracking unnecessary. With detailed optical and electrical simulations, it is shown that this concept can lead to an increase in both voltage and current. This leads to a 6.6% absolute increase in power conversion efficiency compared to the film without microspheres. Absorption and emission measurements confirm the concentration effect, showing the promising potential for a self-optimizing concentrating system.

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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
Adv. Opt. Mater.
Nanoscale Solar Cells

van der Burgt, J., Rigter, S., de Gaay Fortman, N., & Garnett, E. (2023). Self-Tracking Solar Concentrator with Absorption of Diffuse Sunlight. Adv. Opt. Mater., 11(10), 2202013: 1–9. doi:10.1002/adom.202202013