The ultimate solar panels are coming: perovskites with 250% more efficiency
Research conducted at the University of Rochester has shown that perovskites can improve the energy efficiency of solar panels by up to 250% through the use of metal and dielectric substrates.
Perovskites are a family of materials that have a very promising crystalline structure as a replacement for silicon in solar cells and detectors due to their lower cost and similar efficiency.
But now this research led by Chunlei Guo, a professor of optics at the University of Rochester, it has been shown that the light conversion efficiency of perovskites can be increased by up to 250% using metal and dielectric substrates.
Changing the interaction with perovskites
Traditionally, perovskites have been synthesized in a wet laboratory and applied as a film on a glass substrate for later use in various applications. However, Guo has proposed an innovative physics-based approach that has enabled a significant increase in the efficiency of perovskites.
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Using a substrate of a metal layer or alternating layers of metal and dielectric material instead of glass, the researchers have succeeded in completely changing the interaction of electrons within perovskites, significantly increasing their light conversion efficiency.
Guo claims that “no one else has reached this conclusion in perovskites. We may suddenly alter the way the electrons interact within a perovskite by placing a metal platform underneath it. Hence, to design that interaction, we adopted a physical approach.
The new combination of perovskite and metal creates “a lot of amazing physics,” as metals, though the simplest materials in nature, can be made to take on complex functions.
Guo’s lab has pioneered a variety of technologies that transform simple metals into superhydrophobic, super hydrophilic, and solar-absorbing materials, among others.
The combination between perovskites and metals
In a solar cell, photons from sunlight must interact with and excite electrons to generate an electrical current. Electron recombination is essential to stop the electrical current, so the solar cell must use materials that are weak to attract excited electrons back to atomic nuclei.
The researchers showed that recombination could be substantially prevented by combining a perovskite material with a metal layer or metamaterial substrate consisting of alternating layers of silver and aluminum oxide.
All in all, research led by Guo and his team has shown that perovskites can significantly increase their light conversion efficiency using metal and dielectric substrates.
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A dramatic increase in energy efficiency
This new technique may be particularly useful in harvesting solar energy in the future. With a 250% increase in light conversion efficiency, perovskites hold out as a very promising and cost-effective alternative to silicon in solar cells.
However, more research is required to fully understand the physics behind the interaction between perovskites and metal and dielectric substrates, but the results of Guo and his team’s study offer a promising way to improve the efficiency of solar cells and other electronic devices based on perovskites.
Furthermore, this approach may offer a much cheaper and simpler alternative to producing high-quality perovskites, which could have significant implications for clean and renewable energy.