Researchers have long been in the pursuit of developing cost-effective and adaptable solar cells technology to advance renewable energy. Among next-generation technologies, lead halide perovskites have been attracting the attention of engineers. One of the most nagging challenges in expanding their adoption is taming the energy loss from its microscopic crystalline structure. The loss of heat energy is due to a phenomenon called straining. This mandates a technology that can enable researchers to image the underlying structure with sufficient depth. A team of researchers have demonstrated a new approach for illuminating strain in lead halide perovskite solar cells. The details of the work by researchers at University of Washington are published in the online journal Joule.
Previously fluorescence microscopy was used to understand the defects. But the limitation was their inability in pinpointing the exact locations. Further, all approaches damaged the crystal structure.
Novel Approach Combine Optical Imaging Technology with Electron Detectors
The researchers claim to use a novel approach to study microscopic perovskite crystals grain structure of perovskite crystals. They combined optical imaging technology with new electron detectors to study micro-perfection in microscopic perovskite crystals. They found that the grain orientation is the key to understanding electron transportation defects. This will help improve synthesis of perovskite materials and optimize manufacturing processes. Lead halide perovskites form the choice of materials due to their low cost and adaptability.
The team of researchers have earlier been successful in repairing the strain to an extent. However, they could remove the defects only within the cell inside using non-radiative recombination. Now they are in pursuit of removing the defects all across the solar cell. This could pave way to next-generation solar cells characterized by lead halide perovskite materials.