A perovskite solar cell. Photo: University of Surrey.
A perovskite solar cell. Photo: University of Surrey.

A 'simple' tweak to perovskite solar cells during the fabrication stage could help to unlock the untold potential of this renewable energy source, claim researchers from the University of Surrey in the UK. In a paper in Advanced Energy Materials, researchers at Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) report that by simply adding organic ammonium salts to the perovskite surface, it is possible to regulate and reduce unwanted energy loss in perovskite solar cells.

"The future of perovskite solar panels is incredibly exciting, with the promise of not only improving the performance of solar farms and roof panels but many opportunities in powering spacecraft and interstellar probes,” said Bowei Li, a lead researcher at the ATI. "We hope the relatively straightforward approach demonstrated in our study, which tackles recombination losses, can improve the reproducibility, efficiency and stability of perovskite solar cells."

Perovskite solar cells are widely considered the natural successor to silicon-based solar devices because of their high energy conversion efficiency, low development cost and lightweight nature. Named after a naturally occurring mineral with a structurally similar chemical formula, perovskites are synthetic composites with three-dimensional lattice crystal structures. The ATI is a global leader in research into perovskite solar cells and their contribution to boosting global clean energy generation.

"Perovskites are wonderful semiconductor materials enabling the revolution of next-generation photovoltaic technologies,” said Wei Zhang, the primary supervisor of this study at the University of Surrey. “However, despite unprecedented success in many emerging applications, their full potential has yet to be unlocked. 

"Our work will foster the understanding of the complex interplay between the passivators and perovskites at the material interfaces and take the perovskite photovoltaics to new heights." 

"Net-Zero is impossible if solar energy isn't a crucial component of the mix,” said Ravi Silva, the co-supervisor of the research programme and director of the ATI. “Solar energy is currently the leading technology for large-scale inexpensive green energy harvesting worldwide.

"The ATI, and indeed the University of Surrey, is dedicated to making sure that this perovskite technology complements conventional solar modules and is central to the sustainability requirements for tomorrow's world."

This story is adapted from material from the University of Surrey, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.