Materials Science

Physiochemical Machine Learning Models Predict Operational Lifetimes of CH3NH3PbI3 Perovskite Solar Cells



Halide perovskites are promising photovoltaic (PV) materials with the potential to lower the cost of electricity and greatly expand the penetration of PV if they can demonstrate long-term stability under illumination in the presence of moisture and oxygen. The solar cell service lifetime as quantified by the T80 (the time required for the power conversion efficiency to drop to 80% of its starting value) is a useful metric to assess stability. The T80 for utility, commercial, or residential PV systems needs to be several decades in order to yield low-cost electricity, and thus it is not practical to directly measure the T80. It would be useful if T80 could be predicted from the initial dynamics of a solar cell’s performance, but until now no models have been developed to forecast T80. In this work, we report the development of machine learning models to predict T80 of ITO/NiOx/CH3NH3PbI3/C60/BCP/Ag solar cells operating at maximum power point under 1-sun equivalent photon flux in air at varying temperatures and relative humidities. Efficiency losses are driven by short-circuit current and fill factor, indicating that chemical decomposition of the perovskite is a major contributor to degradation. Spatial patterns evident from in situ dark field optical microscopy suggest that the electric field gradient at device edges plays a significant role in perovskite decomposition, along with photochemical reactions with O2 and H2O. Models are trained using a menu of features from three distinct categories: (i) features based on measurements of the initial rates of change of device parameters, (ii) features based on the ambient conditions during operation (temperature, & partial pressure of H2O), and (iii) features based on underlying physics and chemistry. We show that a theory-based physiochemical feature derived from a model of the chemical reaction kinetics of the rate of degradation of the CH3NH3PbI3 is particularly valuable for prediction. This physiochemical feature was selected as the first or second most dominant feature in the best performing models. With a dataset consisting of 45 accelerated degradation experiments with T80 that range over a factor of 30, the model predicts T80 with an accuracy of about 40% (|predicted T80 - observed T80| / observed T80) on samples not used in training. This hybrid ML approach should be effective when applied to other compositions, device architectures, and advanced packaging schemes.


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Supplementary material

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Supporting Information for "Physiochemical Machine Learning Models Predict Operational Lifetimes of CH3NH3PbI3 Perovskite Solar Cells"
Experimental methods; histograms of initial device parameters and operational lifetimes; results of degradation experiments using different top metal contacts; dark field intensity evolution inside, outside, and at the edge of a representative device; short-circuit current and dark field evolution of a Kapton-protected device; correlations between device parameter losses at T80 and humidity; feature coefficients for all test-train splits of each machine learning model; results of an experiment in which the illumination is alternated between 0 and 1 sun periods.