More Stable Perovskite Solar Cells

Incorporation of rubidium cations into perovskite solar cells. (Source: S. M. Hein / EPFL)

Incorporation of rubidium cations into perovskite solar cells. (Source: S. M. Hein / EPFL)

EPFL scientists have stabilized perovs­kite solar cells by inte­grating rubidium into them. The innovation pushes power-conversion effi­ciency to 21.6%, ushering a new generation of perovs­kite solar cells.

Perovskite solar cells have great potential for providing us with cost-ef­fective solar energy. However, heat stability is an issue, and can signi­ficantly limit the solar cell’s long-term effi­ciency, as the cell’s structure can degenerate over time. A solution has been to mix perovs­kites with other materials, such as cesium, that can improve the cell’s sta­bility without compro­mising its efficiency in converting light into electrical current.

Michael Grätzel’s lab at EPFL has now inte­grated rubidium cations into perovs­kites, maintaining exceptional stability over 500 continuous hours in full sunlight at 85°C, while pushing power-con­version effi­ciency to a reported record value of 21.6%. The lab has already submitted a patent based on their inno­vation.

The project, led by postdoc Michael Saliba, also showed that perovskite cells built with rubidium make available voltage close to the so-called “thermo­dynamic limit”, which is the theoretical maximum effi­ciency of converting sunlight to elec­tricity. “This paves the way toward an indus­trially deployable, new generation of perovskite photo­voltaics,” says Saliba. (Source: EPFL)

Reference: M. Saliba et al.: Incorporation of rubidium cations into perovskite solar cells improves photovoltaic performance, Science, online 29 September 2016; DOI: 10.1126/science.aah5557

Link: Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL, Switzerland

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