Microscopic Flaws In Perovskite Crystals In Way Of Improved Solar Conversion Efficiency, Potential For Big Boosts With Removal

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There is great potential for significantly improving the solar conversion efficiency of perovskite solar cells, according to new research from the University of Washington and Oxford University — owing to the fact that there are microscopic flaws in the perovskite crystals used in such applications that can be removed/corrected, thereby greatly improving conversion efficiency.

Given that perovskite solar cells already had a lot going for them (and a lot of commercial interest), these new findings should only serve to further the attractiveness of the technology.

Oxford PV solar cell efficiency with perovskite

The real takeaway of the new research, though, isn’t so much the existence of the flaws, as the fact that these “flawed areas” can be “turned on” via the use of chemical treatments.

“Surprisingly, this result shows that even what are being called good, or highly-efficient perovskite films today still are ‘bad’ compared to what they could be. This provides a clear target for future researchers seeking to improve and grow the materials,” stated David Ginger, a professor of chemistry at the University of Washington.

With conversion efficiencies of around 20% already being reported in the lab (with regard to perovskite solar cells), the potential for big boosts to efficiencies are something to take note of — even if, for the time being, these are only “potential boosts.”

To be specific here — for those curious — the new findings (the flaws, etc) were made via the application of confocal optical microscopy. That approach works by correlating fluorescent images with others gathered through the use of an electron microscope, thereby exposing the “dark” (flawed) areas.

The new findings were recently published in the journal Science.

Image Credit: Oxford

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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