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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V010913/1
Title: Next generation in-situ analysis for perovskite photovoltaic development
Principal Investigator: Dimitrov, Dr SD
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Queen Mary University of London
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 14 April 2021 Ends: 13 April 2024 Value (£): 451,010
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Solar Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
06 Oct 2020 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 6 and 7 October 2020 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
In 2019, the UK government set a target to achieve a zero net carbon emission economy by 2050 in response to the need for sustainable supply and use of energy. One way to support this target is to develop more efficient, cheaper and accessible photovoltaic (PV) panels, which is already a topic of active research in the UK and worldwide. From all types of PV technologies, scientists are particularly interested in the so-called perovskite PV, as they are unique in the way they generate electricity extremely efficiently and how they can be printed on metal, glass or plastic surfaces cheaply. The drawback is that they are not ready for wide commercial exploitation due to challenges with their stability, toxicity and industrial scale-up.

Scientists use many analytical techniques to understand how different materials and processes affect the properties of perovskite PV, but most of the time their analysis is slow and produces limited information. This is because effective analysis requires specialist equipment and expertise often unavailable to industrial and academic development teams. Meanwhile, there have been significant discoveries in using optical spectroscopy techniques to study perovskites and today they can be further developed to quickly analyse materials directly on the production printers. Therefore, the aim of this project is to achieve exactly this and build the first experimental technique that can analyse structure and performance of printed perovskite PV panels directly on the printers making them. This will allow more effective analysis of processing conditions and new materials and as a result faster decision making by scientists and engineers.

The methodology of the project will take a full advantage of the recent progress in the spectroscopy of perovskites and the expertise of the principle investigator of the project in the spectroscopy of printed PV. The first stage of the project will be the construction of a new instrument using portable spectrometers and powerful lasers to detect the reflection, scattering and emission of light from perovskite materials. In the second stage, efforts will be focused on the development of the protocols and theoretical models that will allow the prediction of performance and the monitoring of the structural evolution of perovskite materials during printing, without the need for full scale PV device fabrication. These steps will be carried out by a postdoctoral researcher and a PhD student, who will also validate the new methods using established analytical techniques. The final stage of the project will be the application of the new technique in the first of a kind analysis of state-of-the-art perovskite devices, which will produce unique new insights into the properties of perovskite materials.

The project will be carried out at Queen Mary University of London for 36 months, where the project team will have access to world class facilities and equipment to complete it successfully. The principle investigator is an internationally leading expert in the spectroscopic analysis of printed photovoltaics with experience and strong links with the UK and international PV research community to allow him to lead the project to completion. The project will include collaborations with two world leading PV development teams, one from industry and one from academia, and a world leading researcher in theoretical modelling of perovskite panels. The collaborations will bring in complementary expertise to the project and guidance for instrument development as potential beneficiaries of the new technique.

The expected outcomes of the project include new knowledge for strong scientific publications and patents with the potential for future applications in and a significant impact on the PV and analytical science industries. In the long term, the new analytical technique can be expanded into other electronic technologies due to its unique sensitivity and portability.
Key Findings
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