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Perovskite Solar Technology

ABX3 crystal materials combined with organic crystals are cheaper and 50% more powerful than semiconductor silicon solar cell panels!

Perovskites are widely seen as the likely platform for next-generation solar cells, replacing silicon because of its easier manufacturing process, lower cost, and greater flexibility. Just what is this unusual, complex crystal and why does it have such great potential?

Halide perovskites are a family of materials that have shown potential for high performance and low production costs in solar cells. The name “perovskite” comes from the nickname for their crystal structure, although other types of non-halide perovskites (such as oxides and nitrides) are utilized in other energy technologies, such as fuel cells and catalysts.

Perovskite solar cells have shown remarkable progress in recent years with rapid increases in efficiency, from reports of about 3% in 2009 to over 40% today. While perovskite solar cells have become highly efficient in a very short time, a number of challenges remain before they can become a competitive commercial technology. Material toxicity, device hysteresis, and perovskite material stability are major challenges which need to be overcome for it be commercialized on a wide scale. Use of toxic lead in perovskite is a matter of environmental concern.

Swift Solar was founded by leading perovskite scientists from Stanford, MIT, Cambridge, Oxford, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). They are a global team of innovators and technologists and manufacturing experts—visionaries and builders who believe solar power can and will change the world for good.The problem, however, is that perovskites aren’t very stable and tend to break down when exposed to the elements. Fixing that problem has been the focus of plenty of past work, with scientists experimenting with adding bulky molecules, old pigments or quantum dots.

In the new study, the Princeton team addressed the stability issue by adding an ultra-thin capping layer between the light-absorbing perovskite layer and the charge-carrying layer. Just a few atoms thick, this capping layer was made of carbon disulfide, lead, iodine and chlorine, and served to protect the device from burning out within a few weeks.Other teams have added 2D layers to extend the lifespan of perovskite solar cells, but not to the degree of this new one. By the team’s estimate, perovskite solar cells made with this capping layer could last up to 30 years of outdoor operation, making it the first of its type to cross the commercial threshold of a 20-year lifetime.

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