A new paper by University of Notre Dame researchers describes their investigations of the fundamental optical properties of a new class of semiconducting materials known as organic-inorganic "hybrid" perovskites.
The research was conducted at the Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory by Joseph Manser, a doctoral student in chemical and biomolecular engineering, under the direction of Prashant Kamat, Rev. John A. Zahm Professor of Science. The findings appear in a paper in the August 10 edition of the journal Nature Photonics.
The term "perovskites" refers to the structural order these materials adopt upon drying and assembling in the solid state.
"Hybrid perovskites have recently demonstrated exceptional performance in solid-state thin film solar cells, with light-to-electricity conversion efficiencies approaching nearly 20 percent," Manser said.
"Though currently only at the laboratory scale, this efficiency rivals that of commercial solar cells based on polycrystalline silicon. More importantly, these materials are extremely easy and cheap to process, with much of the device fabrication carried out using coating and or printing techniques that are amenable to mass production. This is in stark contrast to most commercial photovoltaic technologies that require extremely high purity materials, especially for silicon solar cells, and energy-intensive, high-temperature processing."
Manser points out that although the performance of perovskite solar cells has risen dramatically in only a few short years, the scientific community does not yet fully know how these unique materials interact with light on a fundamental level.
Manser and Kamat used a powerful technique known as "transient absorption pump-probe spectroscopy" to examine the events that occur trillions of a second after light absorption in the hybrid methylammonium lead iodide, a relevant material for solar applications.
They analyzed both the relaxation pathway and spectral broadening in photoexcited hybrid methylammonium lead iodide and found that the excited state is primarily composed of separate and distinct electrons and holes known as "free carriers."
"The fact that these separated species are present intrinsically in photoexcited hybrid methylammonium lead iodide provides a vital insight into the basic operation of perovskite solar cells," Manser said. "Since the electron and hole are equal and opposite in charge, they often exist in a bound or unseparated form known as an 'exciton.' Most next-generation' photovoltaics based on low-temperature, solution-processable materials are unable to perform the function of separating these bound species without intimate contact with another material that can extract one of the charges. "
This separation process siphons energy within the light absorbing layer and restricts the device architecture to one of highly interfacial surface area. As a result, the overall effectiveness of the solar cell is reduced.
"However, from our study, we now know that the photoexcited charges in hybrid perovskites exist in an inherently unbound state, thereby eliminating the additional energy loss associated with interfacial change separation," Manser said. "These results indicate that hybrid perovskites represent a 'best of both worlds' scenario, and have the potential to mitigate the compromise between low-cost and high-performance in light-harvesting devices."
Although the research was on the fundamental optical and electronic properties of hybrid perovskites, it does have direct implications for device applications. Understanding how these materials behave under irradiation is necessary if they are to be fully optimized in light-harvesting assemblies.
Manser and Kamat's research was supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Science.
Joseph Manser | Eurek Alert!
Twisting magnets enhance data storage capacity
12.02.2016 | Hiroshima University
A metal that behaves like water
12.02.2016 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Today, plants and microorganisms are heavily used for the production of medicinal products. The production of biopharmaceuticals in plants, also referred to as “Molecular Pharming”, represents a continuously growing field of plant biotechnology. Preferred host organisms include yeast and crop plants, such as maize and potato – plants with high demands. With the help of a special algal strain, the research team of Prof. Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam strives to develop a more efficient and resource-saving system for the production of medicines and vaccines. They tested its practicality by synthesizing a component of a potential AIDS vaccine.
The use of plants and microorganisms to produce pharmaceuticals is nothing new. In 1982, bacteria were genetically modified to produce human insulin, a drug...
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...
The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.
Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...
Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.
The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels
A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...
12.02.2016 | Event News
09.02.2016 | Event News
02.02.2016 | Event News
12.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
12.02.2016 | Life Sciences
12.02.2016 | Medical Engineering