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With the high environmental cost of conventional energy sources and the finite supply of fossil fuels, the importance of renewable energy sources has become much more apparent in recent years. However, efficiently harnessing solar energy for human use has been a difficult task. While silicon-based solar cells can be used to capture sunlight energy, they are costly to produce on an industrial scale.

Therefore a team of researchers has focused their work on using organo-metal halide perovskite films in solar cells. These perovskite films are highly crystalline materials and can be formed by a large number of different chemical combinations and can be deposited at low cost. Recent publications from the team leader cover three different areas of innovation in perovskite film research:

·         A novel post annealing treatment to increase perovskite efficiency and stability,

·         A discovery of the decomposition products of a specific perovskite, and

·         A new means of producing perovskites that maintains solar efficiency when scaled up.

In order to be useful as solar cells, perovskite films must be able to harvest solar energy at a high efficiency that is cost-effective, be relatively easy to manufacture, and be able to withstand the outdoor environment over a long period of time. They have recently published research that may help increase the solar efficiency of the organo-metal halide perovskite MAPbI3.

·         They discovered that the use of a methylamine solution during post-annealing led to a decrease in problems associated with grain boundaries. Grain boundaries manifest as gaps between crystalline domains and can lead to unwanted charge recombination.

·         This is a common occurrence in perovskite films and can reduce their efficiency, making the improvement of grain boundary issues essential to maintain high device performance.

Team’s novel post annealing treatment produced solar cells that had fused grain boundaries, reduced charge recombination, and displayed an outstanding conversion efficiency of 18.4%. Their treated perovskite films also exhibited exceptional stability and reproducibility, making this method useful for industrial production of solar cells.

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