Stanford University scientists have found that applying pressure can change the properties of perovskites and the way they respond to light. The results of their study suggest that it is possible to increase the voltages of perovskite solar cells by applying external pressure. The researchers also observed a dramatic increase in the electronic conductivity of these materials at high pressures.

To understand exactly how perovskites behave under pressure, the scientists placed the crystals in a vice between two diamonds. As the diamonds were squeezed closer together, the perovskite samples changed color. These lab results indicate that perovskites can absorb high or low energy light waves, depending on the precise amount of pressure that is applied.