Researchers from Australia have discovered that the widely acclaimed mineral perovskite can be used to transform the solar industry through cheaper and more efficient photovoltaics. The Independent reports: Perovskite, which is forged deep within the Earth’s mantle, has been hailed for its unprecedented potential to convert sunlight into electricity. Researchers have already improved its sunlight-to-energy efficiency from around 3 per cent to over 20 per cent in the space of just a few years. “It’s unbelievable, a miracle material,” Z. Valy Vardeny, a materials science professor from the University of Utah, said about perovskite in 2017. At the time it was thought that it would be at least 10 years before it reached a point that the material could be used in commercial solar cells, however the latest breakthrough could see the wide uptake of the technology much sooner. “It was one of those unusual discoveries that you sometimes hear about in science,” said Dr Hall from the University of Melbourne.
With the help of researchers at the University of Sydney, the scientists were able to use computational modeling to solve the problem of instability within the material when exposed to sunlight. The unlikely solution was to undo the disruption caused by light at lower intensities by focussing the light into a high-intensity beam. Dr Hall added: “What we’ve shown is that you can actually use the material in the state that you want to use it, for a solar cell – all you need to do is focus more light onto it.” The research could also have significant implications for data storage, with perovskites offering a way to dramatically increase a device’s potential capacity. The study has been published in the journal Nature Materials.
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