Episode 4: Can metal-halide perovskite solar cells be used for concentrated PV devices?


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Research on perovskites has progressed rapidly for PV and LEDs, with new solar-cell efficiency records being set at a regular pace. There are hints of the first commercial products reaching the market by 2020, just a decade since perovskite photovoltaics were first discovered. MRS Bulletin presents the impact of a recent advance in this burgeoning field.

Read the abstract in Nature Energy (doi:10.1038/s41560-018-0220-2).
Welcome to MRS Bulletin’s Materials News Podcast, providing breakthrough news & interviews with researchers on the hot topics of 3D bioprinting, artificial intelligence and machine learning, bioelectronics, perovskites, quantum materials, robotics, and synthetic biology. My name is Bob Braughler.

Concentrated photovoltaic devices – also called CPV, which use lenses and mirrors to focus sunlight onto small, highly efficient solar cells, can have power-conversion efficiencies as high as 46%. Very expensive multi-junction solar cells made with groups III-V semiconductors, such as gallium indium phosphide, are often used for such devices.

Could perovskite solar cells, which suffer from instability under light and heat, be used for CPV technology? University of Oxford researchers led by Henry Snaith answer that question. They found that the efficiency of halide perovskite solar cells went up from 21.1% to a peak of 23.6% when simulated sunlight was increased to 14 times the standard irradiance of 1 Sun.

The researchers assessed a range of perovskite materials for their stability under high-intensity light. Perovskites containing a mixed cation formamidinium-cesium composition gave the most stable solar cells under high irradiance, and they chose a compound with a composition of formamidinium, cesium, lead iodide, and bromide for the CPV device. They found that their devices, maintained at room temperature during operation, retained 90% of their original efficiency after 150 hours spent under 10 Suns of concentrated light.

This work was published in a recent issue of Nature Energy. My name is Bob Braughler from the Materials Research Society.

For more news, log onto the MRS Bulletin website at mrsbulletin.org and follow us on twitter, @MRSBulletin. Thank you for listening.

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