Perovskite


Perovskite is a promising, abundant mineral that is being developed for the
solar energy industry to increase solar panel efficiency. It is a calcium titanium oxide mineral discovered in the Ural mountains of Russia by Gustav Rose in 1839. Its chemical formula is CaTiO3. These materials are considered the future of solar cells as they are very efficient in absorbing light. When compared to other solar absorbers, the mineral uses less material to acquire the same amount of energy resulting in cheap solar power. A new experiment also showcased the minerals ability to emit light. The mineral can withstand temperatures of up to 2000 degree Celsius and can be made artificially by compressing olivine, pyroxene, and garnet.

Perovskite and perovskite structures are terms that are often used interchangeably. While perovskite is a mineral, perovskite structure is any compound that has the generic form ABX3 and the same crystallographic structure as the perovskite mineral.   

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Image via Ossila

The picture above demonstrates the perovskite lattice arrangement. Perovskite can be described as a large atomic or molecular cation (positively charged) of type A in the center of a cube. The corners of the cube are then occupied by atoms B (also positively charged cations) and the faces of the cube are occupied by a smaller atom X with negative charge (anion).

Depending on which atoms/molecules are used in the structure, perovskite can have an impressive array of interesting properties like superconductivity, colossal magnetoresistance, spin dependent transport, and catalytic properties.

With rapid improvements, perovskite solar cells have become the talk of the photovoltaics world.

Perovskite-based  solar cells are also gaining huge interest from the academic community. Since their operational methods are relatively new, research is being done daily to further understand their  unique properties. As seen in the past couple of years, the improvement in the engineering of perovskite formulations has led to a significant increase in power conversion efficiency. The minerals efficiency started off at 3% in 2009 and now is at over 20%.

Perovskite-based solar cells are also gaining huge interest from the academic community. Since their operational methods are relatively new, research is being done daily to further understand their unique properties. As seen in the past couple of years, the improvement in the engineering of perovskite formulations has led to a significant increase in power conversion efficiency. The minerals efficiency started off at 3% in 2009 and now is at over 20%.

Solar energy, a clean and renewable energy, has been a fast-growing alternative to fossil fuel for quite a while now. Out of the many solar materials, perovskite has started to gain a whole lot of interest from researchers. As they continue to increase the mineral’s efficiency, researchers are saying it could be the answer to high-efficiency, affordable solar power.

The Significance of Perovskite Solar Cells

 

chart of perovskite efficiency

Image via Ossila

As seen in the graph, the increase in power conversion efficiency of perovskite solar cells is phenomenal when compared to other types of photovoltaics.

In a span of just a couple of years, perovskite solar cells have managed to achieve power conversion efficiency greater than or equal to those photovoltaics that have been around more nearly 40 years. The steep rise in the mineral’s power conversion efficiency shows the great potential the solar cell has and why it has scientists and researchers alike excited.

Breakdown in Heat, Sunlight, and Humidity

For perovskite, one of its major limitations has always been its stability. The mineral broke down within a couple of hours to few days when exposed to air. The cells deteriorated even faster in a moist environment due to their hygroscopic nature. However, through continued research, this limitation  is being overcome.

UCLA Professor Yang Yang and his team decided to protect the mineral in between two layers of metal oxide to make the mineral more stable. This led to the extension of the cells life by 10 fold. The metal oxide cells lasted 60 days in open air storage at room temperature and significantly enhanced the efficiency. Yang and his team are now looking to make the metal oxide layers more condensed to increase efficiency.

For more information on the latest perovskite news, click here.

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