Solvent Systems for Industrial-Scale Processing of Spiro-OMeTAD Hole Transport Layer in Perovskite Solar Sells

Fabiano Isabelli, Francesco Di Giacomo, Harrie Gorter, Francesca Brunetti, Pim Groen, Ronn Andriessen, Yulia Galagan

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Current laboratory-scale fabrication of perovskite solar cells involves the use of toxic solvents in the different fabrication steps. The aim of this research is to find a nontoxic alternative to chlorobenzene used for the deposition of hole transport material (HTM) spiro-OMeTAD. The initial selection of the solvents compatible with industrial manufacturing was performed based on the Hansen solubility model and further verified in a series of solubility tests, because the additives used in the HTM ink, such as lithium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonimidate) (Li-TFSI) and tert-butylpyridine (4-TBP), also have a significant influence on the properties of the final solution. Furthermore, selected solvents were tested on the compatibility with the underlying perovskite layer, which should remain unaffected after the spiro-OMeTAD deposition. A final selection of solvents was tested by the manufacturing of the complete perovskite solar cells. Power conversion efficiency (PCE) and layer quality, as well as possible health issues and environmental concerns, influenced the final selection for future potential industrial processing. The research demonstrated that replacement of chlorobenzene (CB) by p-xylene leads to identical PCEs of the devices, thereby showing that a toxic solvent can be replaced by a nontoxic and industrially compatible one. To prove that the selected solvent is suitable for future large-area coatings, the coatability of the ink was tested in blade-coating deposition. Devices manufactured using blade coating demonstrated identical PCEs to spin-coated devices, which is final proof of the suitability of the selected solvent system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6056-6063
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • hole transport material
  • HTM
  • industrial-scale manufacturing
  • nonhazardous solvents
  • nontoxic solvent system
  • perovskite solar cells
  • scaling up
  • spiro-OMeTAD


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