Physicists shine light on properties of potential solar cell material | 8/23/2019 | Staff
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Research led by University of Texas at Dallas physicists has altered the understanding of the fundamental properties of perovskite crystals, a class of materials with great potential as solar cells and light emitters.

Published in July in Nature Communications, the study presents evidence that questions existing models of the behavior of perovskites on the quantum level.

Understanding - Physics - Perovskites - Dr - Anton

"Our enhanced understanding of the physics of perovskites will help determine how they are best used," said Dr. Anton Malko, associate professor of physics in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and a corresponding author of the paper.

The term perovskite refers broadly to minerals with the same specific crystal structure as the compound that originally bore the name perovskite: calcium titanate.

Crystal - Atoms - Fashion - Dr - Riya

"In any pure crystal, atoms are arranged in a very orderly fashion," said Dr. Riya Bose, postdoctoral research associate in physics who prepared the samples for the study. "Thousands of materials can be defined as perovskites by their particular structure. Certain types of these are excellent candidates for solar cells or light emitters."

Perovskite research is relatively young, beginning with photovoltaic studies published about a decade ago. By comparison, silicon solar cells have been refined for many decades.

Silicon - Cells - Decades - Malko - Today

"Silicon solar cells, like those you can buy now, have become more efficient over the decades, increasing dramatically after the 1960s," Malko said. "Today's efficiency is at about 20 percent," meaning that one-fifth of the energy of the incident light is converted to electricity by solar cells.

Because perovskites are a newer research topic, much remains unknown about why they behave as they do.

Perovskites - Efficiency - Silicon - Malko - Relative

"What is known, however, is that perovskites already exceed the top efficiency achieved with silicon," Malko said. "They are also easy to make and are very inexpensive relative to silicon."

What holds perovskite back is its instability; a perovskite solar cell would need to be replaced in a...
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