Cracks in thin-film perovskite solar cells are easily healed, report researchers from Brown University. Application of compressive stress or exposure to modestly elevated temperatures suffices to fully restore the original state up to the atomic level.
In only a few years of research, the efficiency of perovskite solar cells has more or less matched that of their silicon counterparts. Their limited lifetime has also been receiving a lot of attention. Mechanical stability, however, has not been a priority so far.
“Everybody’s chasing high efficiency, which is important, but we also need to be thinking about things like long-term durability and mechanical reliability if we’re going to bring this solar cell technology to the market. That’s what this research was about,” says Nitin Padture of Brown’s School of Engineering.
Padture says that the research was aimed at better understanding the basic properties of perovskite materials, and more work needs be done to develop methods of applying this information in a commercial setting.