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Intel’s Disappearing Assets Sale

Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, of Electronics Weekly.

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Electronics Fights Heart Disease

Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, of Electronics Weekly.

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Perovskite solar cells yield another secret

Silicon photovoltaic panels

Organic-inorganic metal halide perovskite solar materials are rapidly catching silicon in efficiency, and are showing promise as a mass produceable large scale technology.

However, a lot of issues remain to be solved, and it looks like one of them has just fallen.

In international team has found out why intense light can usefully modify the crystal structure.

“What we’re finding, is that there are some defects that can be healed under light,” said Samuel Stranks, who is a professor at both MIT and the University of Cambridge.

The defects in question are traps, where electrons wastefully recombine with atoms before they can be extracted to do anything useful.

It appears from the research that high-power light exposure causes iodine ions to migrate away from the illuminated region, sweeping traps away as they go.

“This is the first time this has been shown,” said Stranks , “where just under illumination, where no [electric or magnetic] field has been applied, we see this ion migration that helps to clean the film. It reduces the defect density.”

Unfortunately, the effects of illumination diminish over time, so “the challenge now is to maintain the effect” long enough to make it practical, said Stranks.

As well as solar cells, organic-inorganic metal halide perovskites are considered promising for LEDs, lasers, and light detectors.

“They excel in photoluminescence quantum efficiency, which is key to maximising the efficiency of solar cells,” said MIT, “But in practice, the performance of different batches of these materials, or even different spots on the same film, has been highly variable and unpredictable.”

This research project is aimed at discovering the causes of such discrepancies, and ways to reduce them. “The ultimate aim is to make defect-free films,” said Stranks.

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