New research reveals the possibility of using perovskite materials in next-generation photovoltaic cells.
The research, revealed in the journal Acta Materialia, finds that although perovskite films are inclined to crack easily, these cracks are easily healed with some compression or a bit of heat.
That goes well for using inexpensive perovskites to change or complement pricy silicon in photovoltaic cell technologies.
Perovskites, a broad class of crystalline supplies, had been first integrated into photovoltaic cells in 2009. Those first perovskite photovoltaic cells had a power conversion efficiency of about 4%; however, now that exceeds 25%—virtually the same as conventional silicon.
The advantage of perovskite photovoltaic cells is that they are often made for a fraction of the cost of silicon, doubtlessly reducing the cost of solar energy installations.
Perovskites can also be done into thin films that are semi-transparent and flexible, potentially clearing the route for energy-generating windows or lightweight, flexible photovoltaic cells in tents.
For the research, Srinivas Yadavalli, a doctoral pupil working in Padture’s laboratory and the lead author of the paper, deposited perovskite films on plastic substrates.
He then bent the substrate to put tensile stress on the perovskite film while utilizing a scanning electron microscope to detect cracks.
The researchers discovered that heat was useful in healing cracks. Nearly 100 degrees Celsius temperatures had been sufficient to heal cracks in perovskite films completely.