Hot electrons give up the goods

Paul van Gerven
Leestijd: 3 minuten

Harvesting the energy of so-called hot electrons in perovskites is surprisingly easy, suggests a study by the University of Groningen and Nanyang Technological University. The finding may help to increase the efficiency of perovskite solar panels.

The performance of perovskite solar cells has improved spectacularly over the past decade. In 2009, an efficiency of 3.8 percent for a single-junction cell was reported but the current record already stands at 25.2 percent – right behind the best silicon devices. Being a thin-film technology, however, perovskite solar cells will be significantly cheaper to produce and hence are expected to give silicon a run for its money – though perovskites and silicon can reinforce one another as well.

It’s no coincidence that the top efficiencies of perovskites and silicon are very close. The maximum efficiency of a ‘regular’ single-junction solar cell is 31-33 percent, depending on the bandgap. As designs, materials and processing techniques are optimized, any single-junction solar cell will approach that limit. For both silicon and perovskites, the low-hanging fruit simply has been picked.

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