The majority of talks, posters, and papers proposed for the conference are on the subject of perovskite—so exciting is the field even though perovskite isn’t technically a dye cell
A new solar material that has the same crystal structure as a mineral first found in the Ural Mountains in 1839 is shooting up the efficiency charts faster than almost anything researchers have seen before—and it is generating optimism that a less expensive way of using sunlight to generate electricity may be in our planet’s future.
Researchers at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are analyzing the new material, perovskite, using the lab’s unique testing capabilities and broad spectrum of expertise to uncover the secrets and potential of the semiconducting cube-like mineral.
NREL has already produced three scientific papers on perovskite (see sidebar), reporting on the science behind the very large length of the electron pairs (or charge diffusion length) in mesostructured perovskite solar cells. The two most-studied perovskite device structures are mesostructured (of medium complexity) and planar (two-dimensional). NREL Research Fellow David Ginley, who is a world-renowned materials scientist and winner of several R&D 100 Awards, said what makes perovskite device structures so remarkable is that when processed in a liquid solution, they have unusual abilities to diffuse photons a long distance through the cell. That makes it far less likely that the electrons will recombine with their hole pairs and be lost to useful electricity. And that indicates a potential for low-cost, high-efficiency devices.
NREL Senior Scientist Daniel Friedman notes that the light-absorbing perovskite cells have “a diffusion length 10 times longer than their absorption length,” not only an unusual phenomenon, but a very useful one, too.
Perovskite Is Flexible, Easier to Manipulate
The new cells are made from a relative of the perovskite mineral found in the Ural Mountains. Small but vital changes to the material allow it to absorb sunlight very efficiently. The material is also easy to fabricate using liquids that could be printed on substrates like ink in a printing press, or made from simple evaporation. These properties suggest an easy, affordable route to solar cells.
By playing with the elemental composition, it is also possible to tune the perovskite material to access different parts of the sun’s spectrum. That flexibility can be crucial, because it means that the material can be changed by deliberately introducing impurities, and in such a way that it can be used in multijunction solar cells that have ultra-high efficiencies. Multijunction solar cells are an NREL invention from 1991, but because of high material costs, standard multijunctions are used mostly in outer space applications such as satellites and the Mars rovers. Cheaper multijunction cells based on perovskites could radically change this.
In four years, perovskite’s conversion efficiency—the yield at which the photons that hit the material are turned into electrons that can be used to generate electricity—has grown from 3.8% in 2009 to just north of 16%, with unconfirmed reports of even higher efficiencies arriving regularly. That’s better than a four-fold increase. By contrast, efficiencies of single-crystal solar cells grew by less than 50% during their first five years of development, and most other types of solar cells showed similar modest improvements during their first few years.
NREL materials scientists are encouraged by the possibility of further optimizing the materials. For example, replacing lead with tin in the cells could improve the efficiency of multijunction cells made from perovskite. Besides switching to a more environmentally friendly material, the change from lead to tin would also allow the finished solar cell to better withstand high humidity.
The Latest on: Perovskite
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The Latest on: Perovskite
- Catalytic technique ‘upcycles’ single-use plasticon November 14, 2019 at 7:59 am
The technique, known as catalytic hydrogenolysis, uses platinum nanoparticles supported on tiny cubes of strontium titanate perovskite material to convert energy-rich polyethylene molecules into ...
- 'Messy' Production of Perovskite Material Increases Solar Efficiency | IDTechEx Research Articleon November 13, 2019 at 2:32 pm
Scientists at the University of Cambridge studying perovskite materials for next-generation solar cells and flexible LEDs have discovered that they can be more efficient when their chemical ...
- New material to pave the way for lead-free solar panelson November 13, 2019 at 9:35 am
Nov. 13 (UPI) --Scientists have developed a new material that could be used to make solar panels without lead. Over the last decade, the quest to build a better, more efficient solar panel has ...
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Solar cells based on perovskites have reached enormously high efficiencies within only a few years. Those with hybrid halide perovskite, i.e. materials containing inorganic and organic components, ...
- Perovskite solar cells have new potentialon November 13, 2019 at 6:20 am
Researchers in Saudi Arabia have used computational modelling to determine the best materials for perovskite solar cells, an advance that could add commercial viability to the promising power source.
- New material points toward highly efficient solar cellson November 13, 2019 at 4:58 am
A new type of material for next-generation solar cells eliminates the need to use lead, which has been a major roadblock for this technology. Solar cells, incorporating the mineral perovskite, have ...
- Nanolumi Introduces Industry's First...on November 12, 2019 at 5:15 pm
Chameleon® G Film is the industry's first perovskite quantum dot (PeQD) colour enhancement film for QD displays with exceptional brightness and unprecedented colour performance of over 90% Rec. 2020, ...
- Triplet management for efficient perovskite light-emitting diodeson November 11, 2019 at 12:32 pm
Fig. 2: Crystalline properties of N2F8 and P2F8 films. Fig. 3: Optical properties of N2F8 and P2F8 films. Fig. 4: Proposed PeLED emission mechanism and characterization of N2F8 and P2F8 devices. Kim, ...
- Reversible 3D laser printing of perovskite quantum dots inside a transparent mediumon November 11, 2019 at 8:14 am
All prices are NET prices. VAT will be added later in the checkout. The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon ...
- 'Messy' production of perovskite material increases solar cell efficiencyon November 11, 2019 at 8:02 am
Scientists at the University of Cambridge studying perovskite materials for next generation solar cells and flexible LEDs have discovered that they can be more efficient when their chemical ...
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