Mystery of high-performing solar cell materials revealed

Researchers have visualised, for the first time, why perovskites – materials which could replace silicon in next-generation solar cells – are seemingly so tolerant of defects in their structure. The findings, led by researchers from the University of Cambridge, are published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. The most commonly used material for producing solar panels is crystalline silicon, but achieving efficient energy conversion requires an energy-intensive and time-consuming production process to create a highly ordered wafer structure.

In the last decade, perovskite materials have emerged as promising alternatives to silicon. The lead salts used to make perovskites are much more abundant and cheaper to produce than crystalline silicon, and they can be prepared in liquid ink that is simply printed to produce a film of the material. They also show great potential for other applications, such as energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and X-ray detectors. The performance of perovskites is surprising. The typical model for an excellent semiconductor is a highly ordered structure, but the array of different chemical elements in perovskites creates a much ‘messier’ landscape.

This messiness causes defects in the material that lead to tiny ‘traps’, which typically reduce performance. But despite the presence of these defects, perovskite materials still show efficiency levels comparable to their silicon alternatives.

Information Source: Read More

Oil and gas, press , | Energy, Climate, Renewable, Wind, Biomass, Sustainability, Oil Price, LPG, Solar