Perovskites are materials that share a crystal structure similar to the mineral called perovskite, which consists of calcium titanium oxide (CaTiO3).
Depending on which atoms/molecules are used in the structure, perovskites can possess an impressive array of interesting properties including superconductivity, ferroelectricity, charge ordering, spin dependent transport and much more. Perovskites therefore hold exciting opportunities for physicists, chemists and material scientists.
Lead-based perovskites have become key materials in photovoltaics research thanks to their facile solution processability and impressive performance. However, despite their great potential, a persistent threat on future use and commercialization is the issue of toxicity and lead-content.
Lead (and its oxide form) is highly hazardous to animals and humans. Hence, succeeding to develop lead-free perovskites that could be used instead of the lead-based ones is a much desired accomplishment. While producing lead-free perovskite materials is not very hard to do, and various candidates exist (Sn-based perovskites, for example) these tend to perform poorly compared to lead-based perovskite materials, and exhibit limited optoelectronic performance and stability. However, vigorous research is taking place and hopefully it will yield lead-free perovskites that can serve as a viable replacement to lead-based ones.
The latest Perovskite toxicity news:
NREL scientists assess health and environmental impacts of solvents for producing perovskite solar cells
Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have investigated how to manufacture perovskite materials and solar technology with human health in mind.
Newly published research points to the safest choices for solvents needed to make perovskite solar cells. Unlike silicon solar panels, which require an industrial process, perovskite solar panels can be made using chemicals and produced using a roll-to-roll printing method or spray coating. The process also costs less and takes less time than manufacturing silicon panels.
Bifacial perovskite solar cells could become more environmentally friendly than conventional crystalline silicon devices
Scientists from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and Michigan State, Toledo and Wisconsin universities have found bifacial perovskite PV cells have the potential to become more environmentally friendly than conventional crystalline silicon devices, due to their increased energy yield.
The scientists examined sites at Toledo, in Ohio and Golden, Colorado, to take account of high and low latitude and humidity conditions. The researchers analyzed the environmental impact of single-junction, bifacial perovskite cells with high and low bandgaps, and multi-junction devices of the same type with two-terminal (2T) and four-terminal (4T) structures. They quantified the life cycle energy production from the cells under real-world conditions and benefiting from diverse albedo environments including installation above sandstone, concrete, grass and snow.
Scientists from the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials, Kyungpook National University, Sungkyunkwan University, Sejong University and Yonsei University in Korea, in collaboration with Uppsala University in Sweden, Imperial College London and National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the U.S, recently devised a way to sustainably collect pollutants secreted from PSCs without sacrificing the panel itself. Using this new approach, the scientists were able to safely recycle 99.7% of lead in their samples.
In the study describing their work, the researchers explain that they're not the first to attempt to tackle this issue, but that previous approaches to adsorbing lead have been limited by the number of naturally occurring lead solvents.
A new study, led by Dr. Shayanti Mukherjee at the Australian Hudson Institute (a leading Australian translational medical research institute), has found that perovskites materials can have anti-microbial properties, without toxic side effects to human cells.
Dr Mukherjee and her team, who already have a significant program researching new bio-degradable nanomeshes to revolutionize treatments for pelvic organ prolapse (POP), have shown for the first time that perovskites can be used as additives to engineer human tissue implants.
Peppermint oil and walnut aroma to enable HT material that prevents lead leakage in perovskite solar cells
Researchers at the Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH) have developed eco-friendly-solvent processable hole transport polymers by using peppermint oil and walnut aroma food additives and the polymer can prevent lead leakage.
The POSTECH research team consisted of Prof. Taiho Park and Junwoo Lee, that developed Alkoxy-PTEG - hole transport polymers that could be dissolved in peppermint oil, by applying ethylene glycol side chains when producing perovskite solar cells. Also, the team confirmed that this polymer captured leaking lead in aging perovskite solar cells.