from the need-more-power-but-keep-your-remaining-good-eye-closed dept.
Perovskite materials are the newest contender for breaking the silicon ceiling in solar cell technology. But they don't just absorb light. Cambridge researchers have found they emit it like a laser, opening up an entirely new field of applications. Abstract which has links to the full article which was published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.
Note: Perovskite is just one of a class of materials that have a perovskite structure, i.e. is any material with the same type of crystal structure as calcium titanium oxide (CaTiO3).
In 2013, the use of perovskite materials in solar cells was voted as one of the breakthroughs of the year by Science magazine; more recently, the Guardian website declared that they "are the clean tech material development to watch right now."
From Superconducting and ferroelectric properties of perovskite at phys.org:
"It turns out that perovskites are remarkably fluorescent materials," explained Professor Sir Richard Friend. This is not in itself a surprise since the early 1960s a relationship between the generation of electrical charges following light absorbtion and the process of 'recombination' of these charges to emit light has been known. "But these materials do so very efficiently," said Friend. "It's unusual in a material that is so simply and cheaply prepared."
"Mix and squirt," is how PhD student Michael Price described the preparation process: "we make a solution of the halide perovskites and spin-coat them onto an electrode. There's no need for elaborate purification." This simple process, which the scientists say is scalable, is in contrast to the painstaking growth of crystals needed for other solar cell materials like silicon to ensure that the number of defects in the materials is kept as low as possible.
"Perovskites are cheap and abundant, they are easily fabricated and they have a high efficiency of energy conversion these three together are the holy grail of photovoltaics, which is why there is such excitement about them at the moment," added Dr Felix Deschler.
So a new use for an old material, and more "green" tech to boot. Is this adding up to a real change in power from photovoltaics or will energy storage still plague the field?