Perovskite solar cell

Polish researchers produce perovskites via mechanochemistry

Water molecules’ behavior on perovskite surfaces offers important tools for surface and materials research

Researchers at TU Wien (Vienna) explored the long-standing question of how water molecules behave when they attach to a perovskite surface, by using scanning tunneling microscopes and computer simulations. While usually only the outermost atoms at the surface are of importance, in perovskites the deeper layers are important, too. The team studied strontium ruthenate – a typical perovskite material that has a crystalline structure containing oxygen, strontium and ruthenium. When the crystal is broken apart, the outermost layer consists of only strontium and oxygen atoms; the ruthenium is located underneath, surrounded by oxygen atoms. A water molecule that lands on this surface splits into two parts: A hydrogen atom is stripped off the molecule and attaches to an oxygen atom on the crystal’s surface. This process is known as dissociation. However,…

Scientists at the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS) Warsaw University of Technology have designed a rapid and environmentally safe method of production of perovskite substances, by solid-state mechanochemical processes like grinding powders, rather than in solutions at a high temperature. The described process is said to be surprisingly simple and effective.

In the process, two powders are poured into the ball mill: a white one, methylammonium iodide CH3NH3I, and a yellow one, lead iodide PbI2. After several minutes of milling, no trace is left of the substrates. Inside the mill, there is only a homogeneous black powder: the perovskite CH3NH3PbI3, all done by reactions occurring only in solids at room temperature.

The mechanochemically manufactured perovskites were sent to the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne in Switzerland, where they were used to build a new laboratory solar cell. The performance of the cell containing the perovskite with a mechanochemical pedigree proved to be more than 10% greater than a cell’s performance with the same construction, but containing an analogous perovskite obtained by the traditional method, involving solvents.

The scientists also state that the mechanochemical method of synthesis of perovskites is the most environmentally friendly method of producing this class of materials. Simple, efficient and fast, it is ideal for industrial applications. 

The research will be developed within GOTSolar collaborative project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Future and Emerging Technologies action.


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Correlated Metal Films might someday replace ITO and improve perosvkite solar cells

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have developed a transparent and electrically conductive material that could make large screen displays, smart windows, touch screens and solar cells more affordable and efficient. The material has the potential to replace indium tin oxide (ITO), the transparent conductor that is currently used for more than 90% of the display market but is expensive, scarce and brittle.  Along with display technologies, the researchers will investigate the new materials with a type of solar cell that uses organic perovskite materials. The team has reported a design strategy using 10 nm-thick films of an unusual class of materials called correlated metals. In most conventional metals, such as copper, gold, aluminum or silver, electrons flow like a gas. In correlated metals, such as strontium vanadate (a perovskite material)…

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