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New solar cells ‘just the beginning’

|20 October 2016|


Researchers from Stanford and Oxford universities have created solar cells using inexpensive materials which are thinner and hold the potential to outperform conventional cells made of silicon.

They described in the journal Science ‘using tin and other inexpensive materials to create novel forms of perovskite – a photovoltaic crystalline material that is thinner, more flexible and easier to manufacture than silicon crystals.’

The researchers believe these solar cells could rival and even outperform conventional cells – potentially exceeding 30% efficiency.

Co-lead author Tomas Leijtens, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford, said: “A silicon solar panel begins by converting silica rock into silicon crystals through a process that involves temperatures above 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,600 degrees Celsius). Perovskite solar cells can be processed in a laboratory from common materials like lead, tin, iodine and bromine, then printed on glass at room temperature.”

Fellow Co-author Professor Henry Snaith, Professor of Physics at Oxford, added: ‘The all-perovskite tandem solar cells we have demonstrated clearly outline a road map for thin-film solar cells to deliver over 30% efficiency. This is just the beginning.”

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Iain Robertson
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