Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have come up with new perovskite technology that could dramatically increase the efficiency and decrease the cost of solar cells, along with other electronic devices. Using thin films of Ruddleston-Popper, the scientists have created 2D-layered perovskites that are affordable to make and have a high conversion efficiency relative to the price. The technology uses a layered compound concept, made up of nanometer-thick 2D layers of perovskite separated by thin organic layers. The result is a material that could be used to make a wide variety of highly efficient devices, from solar cells to LEDs, laser diodes and other nano-optoelectronic devices. Check out the cool video below.
First discovered in 1957, the Ruddleston-Popper thin films used in this experiment are a kind of layered perovskite structure made up of two-dimensional perovskite slabs interleaved with positively charged ions. Their use is the key for giving the 2D perovskite cells created at Los Alamos their efficiency, which is greater than 12 percent when it comes to solar cells.
“This work could overturn conventional wisdom on the limitations of device designs based on layered perovskites,” said Jean-Christophe Blancon, lead author of the paper revealing the research, which was recently published in the journal Science.
“The 2D hybrid perovskites continue to surprise,” adds study co-author Mercouri Kanatzidis of Northwestern University. “When we first designed these materials we were hoping that high quality samples of them would exhibit novel optoelectronic properties. Well, they have done so and then some. They have exceeded our expectations and are proving to be truly amazing systems. We have only scratched the surface of what is there—sorry for the pun—in this 2D family and we anticipate continued excitement going forward.”
As Clean Technica notes, the cost of solar power is already coming close to fossil fuels in some markets, and perovskite solar cells produced on a mass scale could help bridge that gap. The main issue remaining with perovskite technology is its durability, including a habit of breaking down in humid conditions.