The Next Big Thing in Photovoltaics

24 03 2013

The title of the post is Prashant Kamat’s latest article, a perspective in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters that brings attention to the outstanding potential of nanostructured solar cells using inorganic absorbers, consisting on quantum dots, conformal layers on a wide bandgap nanostructure, and their combinations. Some of the configurations of the most popular solar cells are shown in the slide below. Especially remarkable is the progress of the cells based on organometal halide perovskite absorbers, especially lead iodide and lead bromide, that were noticed in this blog a few months back (The time of perovskites). This week the group of Sang Il Seok (already well known in this fieldbecause of a former 5% record using the Sb2S3 solid absorber) has reported in Nanoletters a strong development. Varying  the  composition of the perovskite as  MAPb(I1−xBrx)3 from x = 0 to 0.2  (MA = CH3NH3) the cells exhibit an average of more than 10% power conversion efficiency (PCE) under full sun (100 mW cm−2), reaching a maximum 12.3%, a remarkable value that makes clear that this particular type of nanostructured solid cell can surpass the PCE of the liquid configuration that has been dominant since the discovery of 1991 by Gratzel and O’Regan.

13 03 21 Michigan conference

Chemical Management for Colorful, Efficient, and Stable Inorganic–Organic Hybrid Nanostructured Solar Cells

Jun Hong Noh, Sang Hyuk Im, Jin Hyuck Heo, Tarak N. Mandal, and Sang Il Seok
Nano Lett., Articles ASAP (As Soon As Publishable)
Publication Date (Web): March 21, 2013 (Letter)
DOI: 10.1021/nl400349b
J. Phys. Chem. Lett.20134 (6), pp 897–902
Publication Date (Web): February 28, 2013 (Energy Conversion and Storage; Energy and Charge Transport)
DOI: 10.1021/jz400348q
J. Phys. Chem. Lett.20134 (6), pp 908–918
Publication Date (Web): February 28, 2013 (Perspective)
DOI: 10.1021/jz400052e
J. Phys. Chem. Lett.20134 (6), pp 1051–1052
Publication Date (Web): March 21, 2013 (Editorial)
DOI: 10.1021/jz4003923



2 responses

9 04 2013
Richard Van Noorden (@Richvn)

Hey Juan – nice blog. I was just looking at this paper. I’m a little worried about the idea of coating my windows, roofs etc. in the lead-based materials used in these solar cells, even if they are encased in electrodes. Is this an unfounded concern? (I’m a science journalist, not a scientist).

Richard Van Noorden.

9 04 2013

Hello Richard, it is a very very tiny quantity of matter, the effective thickness of absorber may be about 100 nm, I do not think this a considerable issue

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