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Perovskites paired with silicon could create higher-efficiency solar cells Capturing solar energy may become more efficient through a novel pairing of silicon and perovskite. Researchers at the University of Oxford in England say perovskites are the class of materials that will change the solar cell game not by themselves, but when partnered with our reliable standby material, silicon. The team—led by Henry Snaith, physicist at Oxford and leading perovskite researcher—says, “It should be possible to make a silicon–perovskite ‘tandem’ device that is more than 25% efficient, higher than the performance of today’s commercially available silicon cells, which are about 17%–20% efficient,” according to an MIT Technology Review article about the work. Working with perovskite-based technologies is challenging because of the material’s sensitivity to moisture and air as well as subsequent durability necessary to survive the long lifetimes required of power systems, the article explains. So Snaith and his colleagues came up with a method that “relies on substituting certain ions in the material with cesium ions, to achieve the desired photovoltaic properties while maintaining the material’s structural stability,” according to the article. And, according to the team, the process could be integrated Credit: Stephanie Liverani into existing silicon panel manufacturing lines by adding a few steps, improving the odds for effective scale-up potential. In fact, Snaith and his team are so optimistic about the scale-up potential of this materials pair that Snaith’s company, Oxford PV, aims to deliver a commercial tandem perovskite–silicon product sometime in 2017. The paper, published in Science, is “A mixed-cation lead mixed-halide perovskite absorber for tandem solar cells” (DOI: 10.1126/science.aad5845). n See us at Ceramics Expo, booth #510 See us at Ceramics Expo, booth #1228 American Ceramic Society Bulletin, Vol. 95, No. 3 | www.ceramics.org 21


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