Perovskite materials have a unique crystalline structure and is made of chemical elements and molecules not seen in nature before. The properties of the material provide the world of solar with an opportunity to develop the next generation solar cells that are cheap, efficient and competitive with fossil fuels.
The material was developed by a team from Pennergy, a center for energy innovation, led by Andrew Rappe, and presented in the latest issue of the journal Nature. The scientists demonstrate that when used in solar cells, the efficiency of conversion of sunlight into electricity is twice as high as that of conventional silicon-based solar cells. The main reason for this is the fact that the material does not need an electrical field in order to generate a current, which consequently results in the production of high voltages with a minimal use of the material.
Although other materials that do not require electrical field have been produced before, they have shown little use in solar cells because they do not respond well to visible light. Perovskite material, however, does so, and what is more, it could also be easily modified to convert a wide range of wavelengths of light into electricity.
The team claims that the material has extremely high potential, especially considering that all advances have been made in only a space of four years, whereas conventional silicon-based solar cells took decades before they could be used in modern solar panels.
Many experts are still skeptical about the new material, indicating that the research is in a much earlier stage than claimed by the authors. However, the general consensus is that regardless of the challenges that are still to be overcome, the enormous progress made by various teams could only indicate an upcoming breakthrough in the field of solar.