A research collaborative project involving scientists from Sweden's Karlstad University and Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Weizmann Institute of Science will examine how perovskite solar cells could recover and self-repair at night.
Metal halide perovskite materials have been shown to possess a self-repairing ability. One of the Israeli research teams have shown that metal halide perovskite solar cells, which degrade in sunlight, can rebuild their efficiency at night, when it’s dark. The other Israeli research team exposed single crystals of lead-based metal halide perovskites to powerful lasers, which made them lose their ability to glow. The researchers then found that the material regained its photoluminescence following some recuperation time in darkness. Even if these two observations — one in the solar cell’s thin, multicrystalline layer and the other one in single crystals — seem related, the potential relation between these two phenomena still needs to be better understood, and how it works.
"In order to understand the self-repair mechanics of these materials, we will participate in this project to examine various samples, with and without interfacial layers", says Ellen Moons, professor of Physics at Karlstad University. "We will examine the interfacial layers’ role in preventing ions to and degradation products from leaving the perovskite layer. These degradation products can then be recycled in order to reverse the process and repair the metal halide perovskites".
The collaborating research teams will use non-destructive analytical methods to determine which bonds in the material that undergo changes in the degradation and repair processes. They will also examine what effects these changes have on the electronic properties of the material.
"In the long term, this project will lead the way towards new and sustainable semiconductor materials", says Moons. "The materials will be energy efficient to manufacture and they will be able to restore their properties following degradation. What we are now learning about self-repairing semiconductor electronics is expected to be of significant value in the development of future renewable energy sources, as well as the development of sustainable electronics".
The project is funded through SSF, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research. A total of eight research projects will share almost 50 million SEK (over USD$4.7 million) granted by "Lise Meitner Grants for Israeli-Swedish Research Collaboration”, which is a bilateral collaboration between SSF and MOST, the Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology and Space.