A crystalline material known as perovskite will become the future in solar cell technology. A recent study finds that one special class of the perovskite possess the "ferroelasticity" property.

This "ferroelasticity" property is owned by some class of perovskite, made of organic and inorganic components. The hybrid perovskite is able to convert sunlight into electricity with over 20 percent efficiency, according to the press release from the National Institue of Science and Technology.

Although the material is easy to fabricate, but hybrid perovskite deteriorates faster than the crystalline silicon, the standard material for solar cells. This drawback hinders its usage as solar cells.

Recently, the scientists from NIST, Andrea Centrone and two researchers from the University of Nebraska, Jinsong Huang and Alexei Gruverman have discovered a unique property of the hybrid perovskite to improve its stability as solar cells. The special property is a "ferroelasticity," which enable the spontaneous rearrangement of the internal structure of hybrid perovskite.

The ferroelasticity property has been proposed to be the plausible mechanism to explain the high photovoltaic conversion efficiency in hybrid perovskite. The scientists found this property in the atom arrangement of the material. They have published the research of this property in the Science magazine.

The crystal of hybrid perovskite, which made of organic and inorganic components, subdivide themselves into tiny domains that possess similar atomic arrangement but has a different direction of orientation. This rearrangement creates a spontaneous strain in each domain, while at the high temperature, the crystal remains to have the same cubic arrangement of the atom.

The ferroelasticity property takes over the hybrid perovskite in the room temperature. When the crystal structure changes it shapes from cubic to tetragonal by elongating one axis of the cube.

It is still unknown whether this ferroelasticity property will be able to improve the performance and stability of hybrid perovskite in solar cells. However, perovskite is known to be more efficient than silicon to produce electricity from sunlight, as explained below: