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Revolutionary solar cells double as lasers, says Oxbridge team
A relatively new type of solar cell based on a perovskite material – named for scientist Lev Perovski, who first discovered materials with this structure in the Ural Mountains in the 19th century – was recently pioneered by an Oxford research team led by Professor Henry Snaith. Latest research finds that the trailblazing ’perovskite’ material used in solar cells can double up as a laser, strongly suggesting the astonishing efficiency levels already achieved in these cells is only part of the journey.
Now, researchers from Professor Sir Richard Friend’s group at Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory – working with Snaith’s Oxford group – have demonstrated that perovskite cells excel not just at absorbing light but also at emitting it. The new findings, recently published online in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters , show that these ’wonder cells’ can also produce cheap lasers. Essentially, if a material is good at converting light to electricity, then it will be good at converting electricity to light.
The lasing properties in these materials raise expectations for even higher solar cell efficiencies, say the Oxbridge team, which – given that perovskite cells are about to overtake commercial cells in terms of efficiency after just two years of development – is a thrilling prospect. Scientists say that this new paper sets expectations for yet higher solar cell performance from this class of perovskite semiconductors.The efficient luminescence itself may lead to other exciting applications with much broader commercial prospects.
Solar cells are being scaled up for commercial deployment by the Oxford spin-out, Oxford PV Ltd, founded by Professor Henry Snaith of Oxford’s Physics Department, and CEO Kevin Arthur. Oxford PV is based at Begbroke Science Park.
Read the full article at MyScience UK
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