Intense Light Can Heal Defects In Solar Cells And Improve Their Effeciency

Posted: May 24 2016, 9:52pm CDT | by , Updated: May 25 2016, 10:08pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Intense Light can Heal Defects in Solar Cells and Improve their Effeciency
Credit: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT researchers have found that using intense light can repair damaged perovskites films in solar cells and make them more energy efficient.

Crystalline materials of perovskites have taken the scientific community by storm in the past few years. Especially considering their astonishing characteristics that have a potential to revolutionize both the solar and electrical industries. Though the materials are highly energy efficient and less expensive than conventional silicon-based semiconductors, still they have some underlying limitations that can affect both the performance and consistency of these superefficient ligth harvesters. 

Now, MIT researchers have found a way to overcome the shortcomings of the material. They have used intense light to modify and clear up its defects.

The thin films made of perovskites can disrupt solar cells’ ability to convert sunlight into electricity if they have defects or ‘tiny traps ‘in them. The defects can limit the movement of charges and therefore hamper the efficiency of solar cells, but researchers believe that these defects can be engineered to boost the performance of the material.

Researchers have found that intense light can push certain ions out of material’s trap and sweep away most of the defects in the region along with them. 

“This is the first time this has been shown,” said lead researcher Samuel Stranks. “Where just under illumination, where no (electric or magnetic) field has been applied, we see this ion migration that helps to clean the film. It reduces the defect density.” 

Clearing up the defects can boost the efficiency of perovskites-based thin films that can be used in applications ranging from solar cells to light emitting diodes (LEDs) to lasers, and light detectors.

The biggest advantage of the process is that it involves no physical contact or interaction for repairing the damaged film. Plus, it can also help scientists better under the behavior of these promising materials. The only drawback could be its temporary nature or inability to produce long-lasting effects but researchers are working on improving the process while their ultimate aim is to make “defect free films.”

Michael McGehee, a professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford University, who was not involved in this research said. “I think it is fascinating that illuminating the perovskites improves their photoluminescence efficiency by enabling iodine to move around and eliminate iodine vacancies. This research does not make solar cells better, but it does greatly increase our understanding of how these complex materials function in solar cells.”

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The Author

Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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