Researchers Develop Mechanism for Self-Healing of Perovskite Solar Cells

Researchers from Monash University, the University of Oxford, and the City University of Hong Kong have developed a “self-healing” mechanism for perovskite solar cells. Their findings, published in the journal Nature, showcase how perovskite cells exposed to heat or moisture can effectively repair defects that would otherwise degrade the cell’s performance over time.

Perovskite solar cells have long been regarded for their high efficiency, low cost, and lightweight. However, their susceptibility to environmental factors like moisture and heat has hindered their large-scale implementation.

The researchers’ breakthrough lies in creating a “living passivation strategy” using a specially designed material called HUBLA (hindered urea/thiocarbamate bond Lewis acid-base material). This compound can repair the perovskite layer when exposed to moisture or heat.

The researchers claimed that solar cells incorporating this technology achieved a power conversion efficiency of 25.1%, a figure that puts them on par with some of the best conventional silicon solar cells.

These new cells retained 94% of their initial efficiency after about 1,500 hours of accelerated aging tests at 85°C in a nitrogen atmosphere. Even under more challenging conditions of 85°C and 30% relative humidity in the air, the cells maintained 88% of their initial performance after 1,000 hours.

Udo Bach from Monash University’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, a study co-author, explained, “Our slow-release strategy represents a significant advancement in the field of perovskite photovoltaics. By slowly releasing the passivating agents into our perovskite material, we have been able to produce solar cells not only with enhanced performance but also extended long-term stability under real-world conditions.”

He said the breakthrough could pave the way for more reliable and efficient perovskite solar cells that can contribute to the global transition towards sustainable energy solutions.

Last year, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Bhilai) claimed to have developed an innovative self-healing polymeric coating material for photovoltaic applications, which can heal cracks in solar cells in only five minutes.

A study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that climate change-induced extreme weather events like hail, flooding, and high winds accelerate solar module damage above certain thresholds, causing greater long-term losses in system performance.

Recently, scientists from MIT said that perovskite solar panels could become more efficient and sturdier over longer periods by engineering the nanoscale structure of perovskite devices.

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