Cheap, Easy to Make Solar Cells

Wednesday 9th November 2016

The University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists have revealed an innovation in solar cell technology using inexpensive perovskite, that they describe as an “increasingly popular material”.

The scientists have developed a new technique that sandwiches two types of perovskite into a single photovoltaic cell. Perovskite cells are constructed from a mix of organic molecules and inorganic elements. Although capturing light and converting it in to energy Perovskite photovoltaic devices can be made cheaply and easily, with some have been reported to capture 20% of the sun’s energy.

The improvement and ease of manufacture comes from the combination of the two forms of perovskite, which has proved difficult to make in the past. Each form is tuned to absorb different wavelengths or colour of sunlight, this means it is converted into one “graded bandgap” absorbing almost the whole spectrum of visible light.

To mate the two materials together to work in tandem so effectively and efficiently the team have used hexagonal boron nitride, and just a single atom thick layer of this material. The sandwich is then placed on top of an aerogel of graphene, capped on the bottom with a gold electrode, and on the top with a gallium nitride to complete the unit.

Cheaper and more efficient solar cells will make a big difference to not just renewal energy but to the array of technology that can benefit from cheaper more effective cells.

Source and picture: UC Berkley.

Categories: General, Renewable, Reviews, Technology

Wednesday 9th November 2016

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