Perovskite progress – exploring new materials for solar PV
In early 2017 STELR News reported on research being undertaken at UNSW to make solar cells from a material known as perovskite, instead of the more conventional silicon cells.
Perovskite is a mineral of calcium titanium oxide (CaTiO3) that was discovered in the Ural Mountains in 1839 and named for Russian mineralogist Lev Perovski. Now the term ‘perovskite’ refers to any mineral with the same type of crystal structure as CaTiO3.
The advantages of perovskite are that it is cheap to produce and simple to manufacture, and can even be sprayed onto surfaces. The cells are made at low temperatures and are 200 times thinner than silicon cells.
The disadvantages reported two years ago included the fact that they are prone to fluctuating temperatures and moisture, making them last only a few months without protection.
A team of researchers at ANU School of Engineering, in collaboration with researcher from the Californian Institute of Technology, reports that they have developed a tandem solar cell which combines silicon and perovskite in layers. Their research is particularly interesting because they have eliminated the need for an interlayer between the cells. Interlayers are usually present to allow electrical charge to be transferred between layers.
By eliminating the interlayer they have reduced production costs but also increased efficiency of the cells.
Their report can be found in the Journal Science Advances