Engineers discover lead-free perovskite semiconductor for solar cells using data analytics, supercomputers

phys.org | 2/19/2019 | Staff
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Solar panel installations are on the rise in the U.S., with more than 2 million new installations in early 2019, the most ever recorded in a first quarter, according to a recent report by Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

To meet the ever-increasing demands, low-cost and more efficient alternatives to silicon-based solar cells—currently the most widely used technology—are desirable. In the past decade, lead-halide perovskites have surged as the most promising class of alternative materials; however, they are unstable. They contain lead, which is toxic and poses potential health and environmental hazards such as groundwater contamination.

Team - Engineers - Washington - University - St

A team of engineers at Washington University in St. Louis has found what they believe is a more stable, less toxic semiconductor for solar applications using a novel double perovskite oxide discovered through data analytics and quantum-mechanical calculations.

Their work was published online June 11 in Chemistry of Materials.

Rohan - Mishra - Assistant - Professor - Engineering

Rohan Mishra, assistant professor of mechanical engineering & materials science in the McKelvey School of Engineering, led an interdisciplinary, international team that discovered the new semiconductor, made up of potassium, barium, tellurium, bismuth and oxygen (KBaTeBiO6). The lead-free double perovskite oxide was one of an initial 30,000 potential bismuth-based oxides. Of those 30,000, only about 25 were known compounds.

Using materials informatics and quantum mechanical calculations on one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, Arashdeep Singh Thind, a doctoral student in Mishra's lab based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, found KBaTeBiO6 to be the most promising out of the 30,000 potential oxides.

Compound - Lab - Mishra - Whereas - Oxides

"We found that this looked to be the most stable compound and that it could be synthesized in the lab," Mishra said. "More importantly, whereas most oxides tend to have...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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