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Ultrathin Solar Cells Using 2D Perovskites Get a Boost

The engineers at Rice University have achieved a new benchmark in the design of atomically thin solar cells made of semiconducting Perovskites. They tried boosting their efficiency while retaining their ability to stand up to the environment.The research appears in Nature Nanotechnology.

The lab of Aditya Mohite of Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering discovered that sunlight itself contracts the space between atomic layers in 2D Perovskites enough to improve the material’s photovoltaic efficiency by up to 18%, an astounding leap in a field where progress is often measured in fractions of a percent.

Mohite, an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of materials science and nanoengineering said that a solar cell technology is expected to work for 20 to 25 years. They are working for many years and continue to work with bulk Perovskites that are very efficient but not as stable. In contrast, 2D Perovskites have tremendous stability but are not efficient enough to put on a roof.

The big issue has been to make them efficient without compromising the stability. The Rice engineers and their collaborators at Purdue and Northwestern universities, U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories Los Alamos, Argonne and Brookhaven and the Institute of Electronics and Digital Technologies (INSA) in Rennes, France, discovered that in certain 2D Perovskites, sunlight effectively shrinks the space between the atoms, improving their ability to carry a current.

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