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article imageNew advance in solar cell technology

By Tim Sandle     May 7, 2018 in Environment
Okinawa - Japanese researchers have developed a new all-inorganic perovskite solar cell. The cell addresses three three important challenges in solar cell technology: efficiency, stability, and cost.
The majority of solar cells are constructed using silicon. The hard and brittle crystalline solid is effective at absorbing light.; however, silicon panels are expensive to produce, even when hydrogenated amorphous silicon and upgraded metallurgical-grade silicon is used. Researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University have been developing an alternative solar cell based on perovskite structures.
Perovskite is a mineral composed of calcium, titanium and oxygen in a specific molecular arrangement. Metal halide perovskites possess unique features that make them suitable for solar cell applications.
Perovskite structures work effectively as a light-harvesting active layer of a solar cell since they absorb light efficiently. Importantly, they are less expensive to produce than silicon based solar cells. Moreover, the minerals can also be integrated into devices using relatively simple equipment. This includes being dissolved in solvent and spray coated directly onto a device.
Perovskite structures have one downside: they can be unstable, especially when exposed to heat. To overcome this issue the researchers have devised devices using a new perovskite material which is stable, efficient and which can be produced at a low cost.
The new material is completely inorganic, which overcomes the limitations of organic components in terms of thermal stability. In addition, the scientists added manganese to the structure. Manganese alters the crystal structure of the material, boosting its light harvesting capacity. To lower production costs, the electrodes used to transport current between the solar cells and external wires have been built from carbon, instead of gold — which is typically used for this purpose.
The new research has been published in the journal Advanced Energy Materials. The research paper is titled "Enhancing Optical, Electronic, Crystalline, and Morphological Properties of Cesium Lead Halide by Mn Substitution for High-Stability All-Inorganic Perovskite Solar Cells with Carbon Electrodes".
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