Researchers use perovskite absorbers to utilize infrared light in solar cells

Researchers from Florida State University and Georgia Tech have been working on new ways for solar cells to absorb and use infrared light, a portion of the solar spectrum that is typically unavailable for solar cell technology.

“We’re working on a process to optimize the efficiency of solar cells,” said Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Lea Nienhaus. “The main drive is to optimize this process for solar applications”. The team has created a new approach for solar cells to facilitate a process called photon upconversion. In photon upconversion, two low energy photons are converted into one high-energy photon that emits visible light.

Surrey team demonstrates promising perovskite solar cells with half the amount of lead

Researchers from the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) have produced a perovskite solar cell which contains 50% less lead, replaced with the more innocuous tin. By fine-tuning their tin solar cell, the researchers were able to create a product that is able to absorb infrared light in a similar manner as silicon cells. They also found that by stacking lead-only cells with the ones mixed with tin can lead to power conversion results that outperform those of silicon-only power cells.

Indrachapa Bandara, lead author of the study and PhD student at ATI, said: “We are starting to see that many countries are treating the threat of climate change with the seriousness it deserves. If we are to get a handle on the problem and put the health of our planet on the right track, we need high-performing renewable energy solutions.... Our study has shown that tin based perovskite solar cells have an incredible amount of potential and could help countries such as the United Kingdom reach its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050”.

Researchers explain green light emission from 2D lead halide perovskites

An international research team led by the University of Houston researchers have tackled a lingering question about how a two-dimensional perovskite crystal composed of cesium, lead and bromine emits a strong green light. Crystals that produce light on the green spectrum are desirable because green light, while valuable in itself, can also be relatively easily converted to other forms that emit blue or red light, making it especially important for optical applications ranging from light-emitting devices to sensitive diagnostic tools.

There was, however, confusion as to how the crystal, CsPB2Br5, produced the green photoluminescence. Several theories emerged, without a definitive answer. Now, the researcher team from the United States, Mexico and China, led by the University of Houston, have reported that they have used sophisticated optical and high-pressure diamond anvil cell techniques to determine not only the mechanism for the light emission but also how to replicate it.

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Perovskite solar cells' behavior under real-world conditions is tested - in the lab

Researchers at the lab of Anders Hagfeldt at EPFL, working with colleagues at the lab of Michael Grätzel, brought real-world conditions into the controlled environment of the lab. Using data from a weather station near Lausanne (Switzerland), they reproduced the real-world temperature and irradiance profiles from specific days during the course of the year, to test PSCs in real-world conditions.

PSCs tested for real world conditions in the lab image

With this approach, the scientists were able to quantify the energy yield of the devices under realistic conditions. “This is what ultimately counts for the real-world application of solar cells," says Dr. Wolfgang Tress from EPFL.

Phosphorene may enable more sustainable and efficient perovskite solar cells

An international team of clean chemistry researchers, led by Professor Joseph Shapter and Flinders University, has made very thin phosphorene nanosheets for low-temperature perovskite solar cells (PSCs) using the rapid shear stress of the University’s revolutionary vortex fluidic device (VFD). This new nanomaterial made from phosphorus, may turn out to be a key ingredient for more sustainable and efficient next-generation PSCs.

“Silicon is currently the standard for rooftop solar, and other solar panels, but they take a lot of energy to produce them. They are not as sustainable as these newer options,” says adjunct Professor Shapter, now at University of Queensland.

Researchers use copper iodide to stabilize perovskite solar cells

A team of Russian-Italian researchers is exploring the use of copper iodide (CuI) as a way to improve the stability of perovskite solar cells. The team from Russia-based institutes NUST MISIS and IPCE RAS, and Italy’s University of Rome Tor Vergata, has applied an additional layer of p-type copper iodide semiconductor, made of molecule of methylammonium lead iodine (MAPbI3), to a perovskite cell for efficient surface passivation.

Researchers use CuI to stabilize PSCs image

According to the authors, the MAPbI3 photoactive layer crystallizes on the surface of a p-type transport layer carrying positive charges and does not demonstrate rapid degradation when exposed to light when accompanied by the release of iodine compounds similar to the used perovskite material. “As we know, under constant illumination and subsequent heating of perovskite solar cells with a photoactive layer of MAPbI3, free iodine and hydrogen acid are released, which harms the interface between the layers of perovskite and NiO, forming a set of defects and significantly reducing the stability and performance of the device”, said Danila Saranin, researcher at NUST MISIS Laboratory for Advanced Solar Energy.