MAY 16, 2019 1:22 PM PDT

What is a perovskite?

Ever heard of a tandem perovskite? While the odd-sounding name may conjure images of who-knows-what for you, it’s likely that in the near future we will all be praising their existence. So, what is it? The cheapest and most efficient solar cell ever invented.

"We are producing higher-efficiency, lower-cost solar cells that show great promise to help solve the world energy crisis," said Dr. Yanfa Yan, a professor of physics at the University of Toledo who is spearheading the research behind perovskites. "The meaningful work will help protect our planet for our children and future generations. We have a problem consuming most of the fossil energies right now, and our collaborative team is focused on refining our innovative way to clean up the mess." Dr. Yan’s research was published in the journal Science.

Perovskites refer to the material that can be used by a solar cell uses to convert sunlight into electrical energy. Until now, silicon has been the material of choice to make this conversion; perovskite is a unique crystal structure composed of a mix of lead and tin which is not only more efficient (23% efficient compared to 18% of silicon solar cells), but cheaper.

"Our UToledo research is ongoing to make cheaper and more efficient solar cells that could rival and even outperform the prevailing silicon photovoltaic technology," said Dr. Zhaoning Song, research assistant professor in the UToledo Department of Physics and Astronomy and co-author on the study. "Our tandem solar cells with two layers of perovskites deliver high power conversion efficiency and have the potential to bring down production costs of solar panels, which is an important advance in photovoltaics."

Perovskite solar cells are cheaper and more efficient. Photo: Pixabay

According to Science Daily, the researchers utilized a chemical compound called guanidinium thiocyanate to greatly improve the structural and optoelectronic properties of the lead-tin mixed perovskite films. Though not yet in the consumer market, Yan hopes the solar cells will soon appear in full-size solar panels.

"This is the material we've been waiting for for a long time," Yan said. "The solar industry is watching and waiting. Some have already started investing in this technology."

Sources: Science Daily, Science

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
APR 28, 2020
Earth & The Environment
APR 28, 2020
Don't wake the Andes' supervolcano
A study published in the journal Scientific Reports showcases new insight regarding the supervolcano laying under the An ...
APR 30, 2020
Earth & The Environment
APR 30, 2020
New Study Reveals Amount of Microplastics on Seafloor
Microplastics—the often microscopic plastic particles resulting from the breakdown of large plastic items or mater ...
MAY 01, 2020
Earth & The Environment
MAY 01, 2020
Small wildfires boost native bee populations
A study from the University of California Riverside suggests that native bee species may thrive from the environmental e ...
MAY 17, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAY 17, 2020
Male Garter Snakes Trick Others to Improve Own Mating Success
After spending several months in hibernation during the winter, male garter snakes emerge from the underground where the ...
JUN 12, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JUN 12, 2020
Green Chemistry: Micelle-Based Technique Could Cure Chemists of Their "Hydrophobia"
While water is essential to many aspects of our life, it is the least popular thing in a chemistry laboratory. The major ...
JUN 14, 2020
Plants & Animals
JUN 14, 2020
Giant Hornet Queen Struggles to Establish Her Nest
Giant hornets are among the world’s largest and deadliest hornets, which might explain why they’re so revere ...
Loading Comments...