Scientists Boost The Efficiency of a Cheap And Promising Solar Panel Material by 250%
Cheaper to produce and better at absorbing higher energy forms of light, perovskite materials have the potential to replace silicon in solar panel technology. Unfortunately scientists are still figuring out how to make these perovskites more stable and longer-lasting. In a new study, scientists have been able to significantly improve the efficiency of a particular type of this material, known as a lead-halide perovskite. By combining the perovskite with a substrate of metal rather than glass, light conversion efficiency was increased by 250 percent. "No one else has come to this observation in perovskites," says Chunlei Guo, a professor of optics at the University of Rochester in New York. While there's still plenty of work to do to get this technology out of the lab and into a solar panel, it's another indication that these perovskite crystalline structures could soon be the go-to materials when it comes to boosting solar power production. Part of the appeal of perovskites is that there are multiple choices of metals and halides that could contribute to their production, and the efficiency increasing technique that's been outlined here should apply across the board. That could be particularly important as researchers try to find alternatives that eliminate the use of lead-halides, which for now are strides ahead of other composite materials but have known environmental impacts.