"In our work, we utilise ultrafast lasers to study the perovskite materials. We tracked how fast these materials react to light in quadrillionths of a second (roughly 100 billion times faster than a camera flash)," said the Singaporean photophysics expert from NTU's School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences.
"We discovered that in these perovskite materials, the electrons generated in the material by sunlight can travel quite far. This will allow us to make thicker solar cells which absorb more light and in turn generate more electricity."
The NTU physicist added that this unique characteristic of perovskite is quite remarkable since it is made from a simple solution method that normally produces low quality materials.
His collaborator, Dr Nripan Mathews, a senior scientist at ERI@N, said that their discovery is a great example of how investment in fundamental research and an interdisciplinary effort, can lead to advances in knowledge and breakthroughs in applied science.
"Now that we know exactly how perovskite materials behave and work, we will be able to tweak the performance of the new solar cells and improve its efficiency, hopefully reaching or even exceeding the performance of today's thin-film solar cells," said Dr Mathews, who is also the Singapore R&D Director of the Singapore-Berkeley Research Initiative for Sustainable Energy (SinBeRISE) NRF CREATE programme.
"The excellent properties of these materials, allow us to make light weight, flexible solar cells on plastic using cheap processes without sacrificing the good sunlight conversion efficiency."
Professor Subodh Mhaisalkar, the Executive Director of ERI@N said they are now looking into building prototype solar cell modules based on this exciting class of materials.
"Perovskite-based solar cells have the potential to reach 20 per cent solar cell efficiencies and another great benefit of these materials is their amenabilit
|Contact: Lester Kok|
Nanyang Technological University