The virtually accessible fully automated materials and device processing line (AMANDA) makes it possible to produce perovskite solar cells under extremely well controlled conditions with high precision and reproducibility without the need to visit the facility. Access to the machine controls and the database is provided browser based via HTML protocols. Therefore scientists can perform the design of experiments online and browser based and queue them for execution. Data from processing and characterization is stored in a database and can be retrieved online by the user. AMANDA is a model Materials Acceleration Platform (MAP), serving as a model for how to allow virtual access to a highly specialized facility for materials research.
AMANDA allows to control, monitor and log all processing parameters and document all intermediate steps in the processing of multilayer devices. AMANDA can process perovskite solar cells in a highly reproducible manner, as no human interaction in the device manufacturing process is required. In this fashion AMANDA is particularly suited for combinatorial screening of material compositions and processing parameters or the investigation of statistically relevant sets of identical devices (e.g. for stability investigations).
Apart from the interface for virtual access AMANDA consists of a series of robots for sample transportation and solution dispensing as well as automated equipment for thin film deposition and characterization. To perform device processing AMANDA is divided in 3 sections for solution preparation, film processing and characterization, cell finishing and jV-characterization. Each section is placed in a separate glovebox. Transport robots connect the individual sections and pieces of equipment. Solution preparation (done by pipetting robots) is done in the first glovebox, thin film coating and recrystallization (by spin coating) is done in a second glovebox, metallization and automatic steady state jV characterization is done in a 3rd glovebox. All pieces of equipment that make up AMANDA are controlled via TCP/IP and the coordination of all activities in the platform is performed by a decentralized server system, while all the data collected is stored in a central database. The current capacity of the line is several hundred devices/day and is continually increasing as enhancements are implemented.
Services currently offered by the infrastructure
The AMANDA platform offers materials, process and device architecture optimization for solution processed solar cells and optoelectronic devices. Services range from combinatorial materials qualification in solution (via absorption and photoluminescence), combinatorial materials qualification in films (via absorption and photoluminescence), evaluation of multilayer stacks (via absorption, photoluminescence, photograph), fully automatic device manufacturing and characterization (via jV-characterization at varied illumination levels, photoluminescence and electroluminescence), as well as stability characterization under illumination up to 10 suns at controlled temperature and atmosphere.
Device optimization is a standard task performed by AMANDA. This includes a systematic variation of:
- Solvent variation.
- Solution composition (e.g. mixing together of multiple master-solutions to vary the concentration of 2 or more solutes in the process-solution).
- Layer thickness (through control of solute concentration, spincoating-speed).
- Microstructure formation (through control of quenching, annealing temperature/time) .
AMANDA has the capability to optimize device properties within shortest time against various objectives. Typical device properties can be performance (efficiency), lifetime (under various stress factors), transparency and optical (color) appearance, indoor (as required for energy harvesting) vs outdoor (as required for building integration).
Modality of access under this proposal
- As part of VIPERLAB virtual or on-site access to AMANDA is made available on the basis of operating days for processing materials and devices.
- The user virtually accesses the platform through a browser based interface and defines a design of experiment through an HTML based GUI and makes available special materials that need to be processed.
- Process and analytical data is stored in a database and can be retrieved by the user at any time after processing has been performed.
Support offered under this proposal
As part of VIPERLAB virtual or on-site access to AMANDA is made available on the basis of operating days for processing materials and devices. The user defines a design of experiment through an HTML based GUI and makes available special materials that need to be processed. In VIPERLAB standard processes as well as process development are offered. Process development requires higher on-site support by scientists than standard processes that have already been developed. Processing is performed automatically by AMANDA which is operated by technicians and scientists. The users have the opportunity to join the processing on-site to make observations during the scheduled process run. All data will be recorded and stored in the AMANDA database and can be retrieved via an online portal by the user. The specific services offered by AMANDA are:
- Design of semiconductor inks.
- Development of stable, reproducible and scalable crystallization strategies and processes.
- Interface engineering under controlled conditions.
- Manufacturing of larger number of samples for statistical and stability investigations.
- Lifetime assessment under controlled conditions (T, humidity, Light intensity) under mpp tracking conditions.
All services offered are on 1-inch sized substrates with cell sizes ranging from ~10mm2 (typically 8 per substrate) to 1cm2 (1 per substrate). To support users of the facility the AMANDA team offers additional support through:
- joint definition of the experimental testing procedures, taking into account all the existing know-how on the specific materials like solubility, solvent compatibility, interface layers, process parameters etc.
- preliminary experiments (e.g. determination of Hansen solubility parameters, PL-quenching studies, solution stability studies, temperature stability studies, illumination stability studies etc.).
- Selection of optimization approach (e.g. whether to run a high-throughput optimization with a fixed number of samples, or whether to use an active learning guided optimization through utilization of algorithms like PHOENICS, CHIMERA).
For an operating day of AMANDA, the support by technicians, scientists, power, consumables, solvents, substrates and standard materials (e.g. Pedot, PCBM, etc.) are covered as part of the a.ccess cost.
The Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg for Renewable Energies (HI ERN) investigates and develops material- and process-based solutions for a climate-neutral, sustainable, and cost-effective utilization of renewable energies. The institute works on the structural and functional characterization, modeling, and processing of materials relevant to hydrogen and solar technology. The common goal is the understanding of structure-performance-process relationship on the mesoscale. HI ERN is a branch office of Forschungszentrum Jülich and collaborates closely with the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.