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University of Manchester researcher closer to cutting the costs of next-generation solar cell technology

An entrepreneurial academic from the University’s School of Materials has moved a step closer to making the next generation of solar panels cheaper to manufacture.

Professor Brian Saunders’ Perovskite Solar Cells (PSCs) technology holds the potential for the design of new solar cells at a significantly lower cost.

Solar panels are frequently seen on houses and buildings but high production costs hamper more widespread use.

“Perovskite solar cells are quite revolutionary,” he said. “Our technology minimises the steps required for production of a porous perovskite layer for solar cell applications. It also allows for efficient scale-up and control of the porosity of the perovskite layer.”

Professor Saunders continued: “This is achieved by utilising microgels to provide a micropatterning template around which the perovskite crystallises. Microgels (which are like microscopic sponges) are already widely used to produce surface coatings in the automotive industry and are compatible with solvents used to produce perovskite layers.

“The perovskite layer can be deposited in one step, with good control over porosity achieved by adjusting the ratio of microgel to perovskite.

“Our technology can also potentially be applied to multiple perovskite compounds, providing a scalable and controllable method for the production of a variety of semi-transparent solar cells.”

Such technology could be applied to windows, electric vehicles, personal electronics and traffic signage.

Scanning electron microscopy image of a perovskite solar cell membrane

UMI3 Ltd, The University of Manchester’s technology transfer company, is seeking to license or assign this technology and explore further partnership opportunities.

The academic team has published a paper in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2018, DOI: 10.1039/C8CP05148H

Using microgels to control the morphology and optoelectronic properties of hybrid organic-inorganic perovskite films

https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2014/CP/C8CP05148H#!divAbstract

You can view an introductory video to this technology here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbTFVpO5i2M

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