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Status of Dye Solar Cell Technology as a Guideline for Further Research

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Abstract

Recently, the first commercial dye solar cell (DSC) products based on the mesoscopic principle were successfully launched. Introduction to the market has been accompanied by a strong increase in patent applications in the field during the last four years, which is a good indication of further commercialization activity. Materials and cell concepts have been developed to such extent that easy uptake by industrial manufacturers is possible. The critical phase for broad market acceptance has therefore been reached, which implies focusing on standardization-related research topics. In parallel the number of scientific publications on DSC is growing further (>3500 since 2012), and the range of new or renewed fundamental topics is broadening. A recent example is the introduction of the perovskite mesoscopic cell, for which an efficiency of 14.1 % has been certified. Thus, a growing divergence between market introduction and research could be the consequence. Herein, an attempt is made to show that such an unwanted divergence can be prevented, for example, by developing suitable reference-type cell and module concepts as well as manufacturing routes. An in situ cell manufacturing concept that can be applied to mesoscopic-based solar cells in a broader sense is proposed. As a guideline for future module concepts, recent results for large-area, glass-frit-sealed DSC modules from efficiency studies (6.6 % active-area efficiency) and outdoor analysis are discussed. Electroluminescence measurements are introduced as a quality tool. Another important point that is addressed is sustainability, which affects both market introduction and the direction of fundamental research.

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