New Electron Research Could Lead to Cheaper, More Versatile Solar Cells

We’re one step closer to a fossil fuel-free future.

12. 1. 17 by Kyree Leary
Creative Commons

Power From Light

Hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites (HOIPs) are incredibly efficient when it comes to converting energy from light into usable electricity. They are lightweight, flexible, and inexpensive, and they may be our best option for improving the solar power systems that could end our reliance on fossil fuels.

Click to View Full Infographic

The problem with HOIPs, however, lies in their stability. In a solar cell, the presence of light excites electrons, and these excited electrons are what power our homes, devices, or whatever else is linked to the solar cell. Electrons contained by HOIPs are subject to rapid degradation, particularly when exposed to changing temperatures, making them difficult to use inside of a solar cell.

To take full advantage of HOIPs, we need a way to “strengthen” their electrons, and physicist Seung-Hun Lee and chemical engineer Joshua Choi from the University of Virginia think they may have found that way. In a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, the pair explain that rotating the molecules in HOIPs allows the electrons to stay excited longer.

Pursuit of Perfection

The pair’s discovery could be the breakthrough needed to allow HOIPs to convert energy more efficiently. “This finding sets us on the path to better manipulating HOIPS for greater efficiency, as well as for longer-lasting efficiency under changing conditions,” Choi told UVA Today.

Advertisement

However, while the discovery is promising, Lee made it clear that more research is necessary. “The trick will be finding ways to maximize the effect of these molecular rotations to extend the electron lifetimes,” he said. If that can be done, HOIPs could be the perfect material to use to power buildings, provide people in remote locations with energy, or potentially even fuel spacecraft.

“Power from the Sun is the most abundant source of renewable energy, and it is essentially everlasting,” said Lee. “Realization of economical solar energy technologies is thus essential for the enduring prosperity of mankind on Earth and beyond.”


Futurism Readers: Find out how much you could save by switching to solar power at UnderstandSolar.com. By signing up through this link, Futurism.com may receive a small commission.

Share This Article

Keep up.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter to keep in touch with the subjects shaping our future.
I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement and Privacy Policy

Advertisement

Copyright ©, Camden Media Inc All Rights Reserved. See our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Data Use Policy. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Futurism. Fonts by Typekit and Monotype.