Chemist pursues response to why appealing solar cell product rapidly degrades

Jun 15, 2022 02:13 PM ET
  • A Florida State University researcher is untangling the complexities of a product that researchers worldwide are attempting to manipulate to construct better solar cells.
Chemist pursues response to why appealing solar cell product rapidly degrades
Image: FSU Photography Services

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Lea Nienhaus has actually released a new study in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory that analyzes what takes place when this product-- called a halide perovskite-- faces real-world problems rather than excellent problems of a chemistry lab.

They found that worrying halide perovskites with light as well as electrical fields can produce changes in the standard residential or commercial properties of the material as well as distort the lattice structure that is crucial to maintaining this material stable.

" All of this goes back to constructing a better solar cell," Nienhaus stated. "We needed to much better understand what happens to this material when it goes through continuous illumination the means a solar cell would be if it remained in usage."

The work is laid out in ACS Energy Letters.

Solar energy innovation has grown greatly in the USA over the past twenty years. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the country's solar capacity has actually expanded from.34 gigawatts in 2008 to 97.2 gigawatts today.

But scientists as well as engineers around the world are still working to create better and much more effective materials to boost solar innovations, making them more affordable and much longer long lasting.

Halide perovskites are thought to be among one of the most encouraging products for solar innovation. Lead halide perovskites have a crystal structure based upon a positively charged lead ion called cation, an organic and/or inorganic cation and also adversely billed halide anions. Nienhaus as well as others have actually manipulated these structures to develop films that would be the basis of a solar cell.

The initial perovskite solar cells were established in 2006 with a 3% power conversion effectiveness, yet extra recently developed ones have been 25% and also greater.

The fast increase in effectiveness is appealing, yet there are still drawbacks to this material when it comes to commercial viability, consisting of the truth that it degrades swiftly.

While Nienhaus' lab has been concentrated on means to enhance solar cells, she and also a few of her students started pursuing a side research project concentrated on why the halide perovskite films degrade so promptly under operating problems.

For their research, Nienhaus and also her partners made use of a technique called scanning tunneling microscopy that enabled them to research surface functions and electronic homes of halide perovskites at the nanometer scale. By adding an illumination source to the system, they can check exactly how the product transformed under real-world problems.

Researchers also utilized two synchrotron-based strategies offered at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory to correlate the observed optical modifications to structural ones within the halide perovskite film.

"If we can pinpoint areas of architectural modification which are the origin of degradation, then we can begin dealing with mitigation strategies that will ideally help us build a better halide perovskite film and also therefore a solar cell," Nienhaus said.

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