Researchers at San Diego State University have found that perovskites can be used as catalysts to spur the chemical reactions necessary to make pharmaceutical drugs. Perovskite materials are said to be exponentially cheaper and more efficient than other catalysts used in drug synthesis. This research is funded by a three-year, $390,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant.

The team explained that photocatalysts today are made using expensive metals, such as iridium, ruthenium, rhodium, platinum, and palladium. These materials are also incredibly sensitive and require costly infrastructure — such as oxygen-free environments — that make the process of creating pharmaceuticals even more expensive. But perovskites, inexpensive hybrid materials with an organic and inorganic framework, can be used as photocatalysts.

In addition, the researchers have also found that certain chemical bond formations once thought impossible might actually be possible with the use of perovskites. This could lead to new methods of creating drugs.