New study reveals tricks to solar success

Jan 23, 2021 02:31 PM ET
  • A new research study shows how scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) attained a world record in solar cell efficiency.
New study reveals tricks to solar success
Image: : Dr. Jun Peng and Associate Professor Thomas White

The research study focused on perovskite solar cells-- made using a special group of materials which are cheap and simple to manufacture.

The team accomplished 21.6 percent effectiveness in converting sunlight right into electricity, a new record for perovskite solar cells larger than one square centimeter in size.

According to lead scientist Associate Professor Tom White, they managed to attain this development by adjusting a method which has actually already proven successful with silicon solar cells.

" A common problem with solar cells is that any type of problems in the cell can catch electrons, eliminating the power they obtained by absorbing sunlight," Associate Professor White said.

" A method around this is to "passivate" the surface by finish the light absorbing product with a thin layer of an additional material to minimize flaws. Yet the products made use of to lower defects are frequently poor conductors of electrical power.

Dr. Jun Peng, that proposed the option to this trouble, discussed that "some silicon cells use holes to let the electrons with this shielding layer, producing a sort of conductive pathway. We determined to take a comparable strategy with our perovskite cells."

" The suggestion behind it and the reasons it works coincide, however our models revealed us that to make it work on perovskite solar cells, we would need to make these holes on the range of nanometres-- hundreds of times smaller sized than is used in silicon," Dr. Peng said.

" Thus, as opposed to holes, we made use of nanoscale poles that poke through the insulating layer."

This is the very first time this strategy has actually been applied to perovskite cells, so the researchers utilized computer system simulations to show it worked.

" Computer designs are actually helpful in a research such as this," Dr. Daniel Walter, who led the modeling service the task, said.

" Once you have made a solar cell it can be challenging to probe inside them to see what is occurring. We were able to imitate what was happening inside the cells to explain exactly how the nanorods enhanced the cell efficiency."

The team's record result was independently verified by the CSIRO Photovoltaics Performance Lab.

" We'll continue to work to accomplish even greater effectiveness with perovskite," Associate Professor White said.

" Silicon will certainly reach its upper limit of effectiveness soon, so we see these perovskites cells as the method onward."

The research study has been published in the journal Science.