Chemical engineers at Rice University created microscopic seeds for growing uniform 2D perovskite crystals that are stable and highly efficient in harvesting solar energy.

Perovskite is a material that is used in building solar panels. Scientists are experimenting on them as a potential replacement for the commonly used solar panel materials for a more efficient energy harvesting from the Sun.

 Engineers Made Microscopic Seeds for Growing 2D Perovskite Crystals Used in Solar Panels
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
67 kW (STC rating) photovoltaic array at the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center in Montezuma County, Colorado.

2D Perovskite Crystals From the Seeds are Efficient and Reliable

For many years, halide perovskites have attracted tremendous attention from many researchers for their excellent optoelectronic properties in photovoltaic solar cells, and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), according to an article in Cambridge University Press.

These organic materials are made from abundant, inexpensive ingredients, but it does not come without any issues. Engineers from Rice University's Brown School of Engineering believe that the seeded growth method addresses the performance and production issues that have held back halide perovskite photovoltaic technology.

In their study, "Memory Seeds Enable High Structural Phase Purity in 2D Perovskite Films for High-Efficiency Devices" published in Advanced Materials, they discussed how to make the seeds and use them to grow homogenous thin films, which have a uniform thickness of layers. Laboratory tests have proven that devices made from thin films were efficient and reliable.

Inceptive Mind reported that Rice engineers claimed that the thin film increased by 17% without optimization but that it could be improved in several ways.

Moreover, the seed-grown high-efficiency photovoltaic films have preserved their more than 97% peak efficiency even after 800 hours of being under illumination without any thermal management.

That is an improvement compared to previous 3D halide perovskite photovoltaic films that have high efficiency but are prone to rapid degradation, while 2D devices become less efficient after long periods.

ALSO READ: Perovskites Solar Cells Could Replace or Enhance Silicon

How Did They Make Uniform 2D Perovskite Materials from Seeds?

Engineers explained that the seeded growth method involved the slow-growing of a uniform 2D crystal and grinding it into powder, and then dissolved to a solvent. Then, the solvent is spin-coated onto disks as it would be with the original perovskite yielding method.

Likewise, the evaporation and crystallization methods are also the same, but the seeded solution could create a homogenous and uniform surface.

They found that those bits of seeds retained some memory of the perfectly uniform slow-grown crystal from which they were ground, thus forming the homogenous thin films, SciTech Daily reported.

This is the first time that the seeded growth method has been demonstrated in organic 2D perovskites, although it was often used for inorganic crystals and other processes.

The researchers noted that the process is often attempted by many scientists in nanomaterials research, but it is rarely achieved in creating materials that lived up to its promise of individual nanoparticles of which they are produced.

 RELATED ARTICLE: Researchers Fabricate Novel X-Ray Photodetectors by Embedding Perovskites on Graphene

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