Next-generation solar panel design can now be improved thanks to a more fundamental understanding of the structure within a key component

In a world hungry for cheaper, more efficient renewable energy, Australian researchers have served a treat.

Work by the ARC Center of Excellence in Exciton Science has shown that the two-dimensional (2D) thin films used in some perovskite solar cells are very similar to a sandwich. Perovskite is an exciting material at the forefront of solar energy research and design.

Previously, scientists thought these 2D perovskite films had a “gradient” structure in which certain components were found deep within the material, with other complementary elements only being closer to the surface, such as B. applying to a cracker.

In an in Journal of Materials Chemistry C.Members of Exciton Science at the University of Melbourne, along with staff from Australia’s national science agency CSIRO and Shandong University, have provided evidence of a sandwich-like structure in which two layers of the same type (the bread) surround a central contrasting layer (the filling).

This layout encourages excitons – quasiparticles that are important for converting sunlight to electricity – to move from the central layer to both surfaces of the film, while free carriers carry charge for collection through electrodes, resulting in more efficient solar energy generation contributes when they are built into devices.

“A real problem was really understanding the structure of these 2D perovskite solar cells,” said author Professor Ken Ghiggino.

“There has been quite a lot of controversy in literature. The progress we’ve made is in figuring out how these films are really built and how they work in a solar cell. “

2D perovskite devices are of particular interest because of their superior stability and durability compared to 3D perovskite cells. Prototype 2D devices developed by the researchers using the infrastructure and expertise of CSIRO have shown an efficiency of 13%.

With a better basic understanding of the structure, the researchers will now try to increase the efficiency of the device by changing the thickness of the layers within the perovskite sandwich.

In addition to solar cells, enhanced 2D perovskite films have important applications in light emitting diodes (LEDs) and photo detectors such as video imaging, optical communication, biomedical imaging, security, night vision, gas sensing, and motion detection.

The lead author Dr. Fei Zheng said, “This is the first time that a sandwich structure has been proposed over the traditional gradient distribution model. We believe this discovery will aid design and device optimization for higher performance in 2D cells and LEDs. ”


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