University of Michigan Researchers Achieve Breakthrough in Perovskite Solar Cell Stability

Jan. 16, 2024
Findings could pave the way for more affordable and durable solar panels.

Researchers at the University of Michigan said Jan. 15 they have made a breakthrough in enhancing the stability of perovskite semiconductors, potentially paving the way for significantly cheaper solar cells.

Perovskites, when combined with silicon-based semiconductors, could lead to "tandem" solar cells that are two to four times cheaper than today’s thin-film solar panels, the researchers say.

Unlike silicon solar cells, perovskites can be produced at lower temperatures, but they degrade when exposed to heat, moisture and air, limiting their commercial competitiveness.

The research, led by Xiwen Gong, University of Michigan assistant professor of chemical engineering, focuses on designing robust perovskite solar cells by incorporating "defect pacifying" molecules.

The researchers developed three additive molecules of varying sizes and configurations to study their impact on perovskite stability.

The study found that larger, bulkier molecules were more effective at preventing defects, resulting in larger perovskite grains during manufacturing and lower defect density.

The research aims to improve the lifetime of perovskite solar cells, making them more viable for widespread use in solar panels. Gong's team believes this design approach could be applied to various perovskite formulations for enhanced performance in solar cells, light-emitting devices, and photodetectors.

“Both the size and configuration are important when designing additives, and we believe this design philosophy could be implemented across various perovskite formulations to further improve the lifetime of perovskite solar cells, light emitting devices and photodetectors,” said Carlos Alejandro Figueroa Morales, a doctoral student in macromolecular science and engineering and one of the study’s first authors.


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