The most efficient perovskite solar cells use bromine and unstable methylammonium (MA) as the combination produces the highest efficiency in converting light into electrical energy.
The team at the Adolphe Merkle Institute (AMI) at the University of Fribourg have exchanged the bromine and the organic MA with the inorganic elements rubidium and cesium while still maintaining a high efficiency of 20.35 percent. This allows for more stable solar cells, which is a key step towards eventual commercial use.
“The materials used in PSCs can degrade in just hours, sometimes even minutes under normal light conditions or in a humid environment,” said Dr. Michael Saliba, senior scientist and photovoltaics group leader at AMI. “It is a huge challenge for us to make them stable for years or even decades.”
The team worked with the Hagfeldt group at the Laboratory of Photomolecular Science at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) on a conventional, planar device architecture, using polymeric interlayers at the electron and hole transporting interface.
“These new perovskites can also harvest more sunlight, meaning they are more efficient and therefore more profitable,” said Saliba. “In addition, these new materials are compatible with flexible substrates, making them useful for a wide variety of applications. Essentially, this sets perovskites on the path of becoming a profitable, long-term solution for a sustainable energy future. With small additional improvements, perovskite solar cells can become a commercial reality within a short time.”
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