Have you ever wondered about the bridge between fundamental scientific research and the consumer market? Or whether or not that solar cell you have been studying for a while would actually make it to the end user? The MRS EN06.09 session presents you with the latest on how to "Bring Perovskites to the Real World for a Smart Future".
One interesting presentation, in this session was the talk by Professor Kylie Catchpole, of Australian National University, presenting on "High Efficiency Perovskite/Silicon Solar Cells and Solar Hydrogen Systems". In her talk, professor Catchpole highlighted the recent increase in installation of photovoltaics in general compared to other electricity production technologies. "Solar and wind energy nowadays are cheaper than coal" emphasized Professor Catchpole, as she explained that the energy production market is mainly driven by cost. Photovoltaics also have the potential to be a low-cost source of hydrogen and other solar fuels. Higher efficiency of solar panels guarantees to lessen the overall cost of solar systems by reducing the number of modules needed.
The achievement of a highly efficient solar cell is limited by charge recombination processes. Professor Catchpole and her research team used various passivation techniques to enhance the efficiency of their perovskites solar cells. Passivation is the addition of an insulating layer in between the interfaces of the perovskites to prevent charge recombination, as explained by professor Catchpole. In one technique they used an ultrathin (about 5 nm) passivation layer, composed of a mixture of PMMA and PCBM, to achieve high voltage and fill factor. In another technique, a nanostructured electron transport layer was passivated by the PMMA and PCBM mixture. Professor Catchpole’s team was able to achieve an efficiency “above 21% and fill factor of 83% for a 1 cm2 single junction perovskite cell” using this technique. The third passivation technique presented by Professor Catchpole utilizing two-dimensional (2D) perovskites resulted in the remarkable efficiency of 27.7%, for a 4-terminal tandem perovskite/silicon configuration. At the end, Professor Catchpole demonstrated how they used perovskite/silicon tandems in combination with an appropriate catalyst to construct a water splitting system of 17% efficiency. For more on this talk please click here.
A simple fundamental understanding of an observation or a phenomena is a goal on its own. It also feels good to see that your work is being used in everyday life. That was my view on Wednesday's virtual MRS Spring Meeting and Exhibit. I will miss writing to you and learning with you as this is my last blog, for now ;) Tot Ziens!