Two-dimensional (2D) semiconductors can be promising active materials for solar cells due to their advantageous electrical and optical properties, in addition to their ability to form high-quality van der Waals (vdW) heterojunctions using a simple process. Furthermore, the atomically thin nature of these 2D materials allows them to form lightweight and transparent thin-film solar cells. However, strategies appropriate for optimizing their properties have not been extensively studied yet. In this paper, we propose a method for reducing the electrical loss of 2D vdW solar cells by introducing hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) as a surface passivation layer. This method allowed us to enhance the photovoltaic performance of a MoS2/WSe2 solar cell. In particular, we observed 74% improvement of the power conversion efficiency owing to a large increase in both short-circuit current and open-circuit voltage. Such a remarkable performance enhancement was due to the reduction of the recombination rate at the junction and surface of nonoverlapped semiconductor regions, which was confirmed via a time-resolved photoluminescence analysis. Furthermore, the h-BN top layer was found to improve the long-term stability of the tested 2D solar cell under ambient conditions. We observed the evolution of our MoS2/WSe2 solar cell for a month and found that h-BN passivation effectively suppressed its degradation speed. In particular, the degradation speed of the passivated cell was twice as low as that of a nonpassivated cell. This work reveals that h-BN can successfully suppress the electrical loss and degradation of 2D vdW heterojunction solar cells under ambient conditions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)