Solar energy, perovskite cells recycle light

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The discovery comes from a team of the Cambridge University. The material is an alternative to silicon and works with regenerated photons.

A team of scientists found out that a class of materials known as lead halide perovskites is able to recycle light, making solar cells more efficient.

Perovskite solar cells are easy and cheap to produce, and in a few years they have reached the same energy efficiency as silicon, currently the most used material for solar panels.

This trend might experience a new development since experts discovered that perovskite can be optimized to recycle light.

Solar cells absorb photons from sunlight to create electrical charges but this process also works in reverse, with electrical charges recombining and creating photons. Research shows that perovskite cells are able to absorb these regenerated photons, in a process known as “photon recycling”. This creates a concentration effect inside the cell, as if a lens were used to focus light beams on a single point.

The study, which concerns the use of this material in solar cells as well as in other fields, was carried on by the research group of Richard Friend, Professor of Physics at Cambridge University. The research was conducted with the cooperation of Oxford University and Amsterdam’s FOM Institute.

Perovskite-based solar cells were tested for the first time in 2012 and were so successful that in 2013 Science ranked them among the breakthroughs of the year. Since then, researchers have made rapid progress in improving the efficiency with which these cells convert light into electrical energy. Recent experiments showed a conversion efficiency of 20%, a percentage similar to silicon cells.

This discovery allowed researchers to demonstrate that perovskite cells have the potential to overcome the efficiency of silicon.

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