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What are Perovskites used for?

Perovskites are at the “forefront of materials research”1 because of their wide range of potential applications including solar cells, LED lights, display screens, memory devices (RAM), lasers and photodetectors.

The high electrical conductivity of these materials – especially metal halide Perovskites – makes them useful in a variety of technologies.

As the most abundant mineral on the planet – taken from the earth’s mantle and making up 38% of our planet’s total mass – Perovskites’ value, literally, came to light in the late Noughties. Scientists found that shining light on Perovskites created a small electrical charge, sufficient to create tiny solar cells2,3.

Power conversion efficiency and cost-effective manufacturing

Today, according to the US publication ScienceDaily, the power conversion efficiency of solar cells produced from these materials has increased from 3.8% to 25.5% in a decade. This gives them an advantage over the current market leader, polycrystalline silicon.

With special focus on using metal halide Perovskites in LEDS, a September 2020 report in Nature Materials showed that the materials had “promising optoelectronic properties suitable for light-emitting applications”. Development of Perovskite light-emitting diodes (PeLEDs) has also “progressed rapidly” to reach “high external quantum efficiencies of over 20%”4.

The benefits of deploying Perovskites also include tolerance to defects and the way they can be layered onto a surface to generate an electric charge, making the production process easier and cheaper. 

A host of special properties

As highlighted when we announced our new range, the special properties of Perovskites include:

  • Superconductivity: where an electrical charge passes efficiently through material with no resistance, saving energy.
  • Magnetoresistance: the effect of an external applied magnetic field on a material’s electrical resistance.
  • Piezoelectricity: used in applications like microphones, where electricity is created in non-conducting materials when put under mechanical pressure and latent heat.
  • Dielectric properties: affecting how electrical/magnetic energy is stored and released.
  • Pyroelectric properties: found in materials that create electricity when heated or cooled.

 

Next-generation Perovskite solutions

One problem in evidence when metal halide Perovskites are made by mixing cations (where metals lose electrons and non-metals gain them) or halides with formamidinium has been photo-inactivity. This means the Perovskite solar cells fail to react to light – a big issue for gathering solar power!

However, this problem might now have a solution, thanks to researchers at a Swiss research institute. According to ScienceDaily, these researchers are developing a way of overcoming the problem in the established process in order to allow the previously photo-inactive Perovskite cells to become photosensitive (sensitive to light).

As a result, the research has shown power conversion efficiency in Perovskite solar cells of more than 23%, plus “long-term operational and thermal stability”1.

What Science Magazine predicted about Perovskites in 2017 – that “we will be seeing a lot of this crystal structure in the years to come” – appears to be true, as this material is demonstrating great potential for moving our planet towards green energy.

Search Goodfellow’s range of Perovskites here.

References

1 Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "Chemical innovation stabilizes best-performing perovskite formulation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2020. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201001155906.htm

2 Science Magazine, November 2017

3 Oregon State University, “Crystal structure discovered almost 200 years ago could hold key to solar cell revolution” July 2020, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200702144050.htm

4 Liu, X., Xu, W., Bai, S. et al. Metal halide perovskites for light-emitting diodes. Nat. Mater. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-020-0784-7