Next-gen solar cells spin in new direction

Published at Jun 20, 2019, in The Green Keeper

A new nanomaterial made from phosphorus, known as phosphorene, is shaping up as a key ingredient for more sustainable and efficient next-generation perovskite solar cells (PSCs).

PSCs which are one of the fastest developing new solar technologies and can achieve efficiencies comparable to more commonly used commercially available silicon solar cells.

For the first time, an international team of clean chemistry researchers led by Professor Joseph Shapter and Flinders University, has made very thin phosphorene nanosheets for low-temperature PSCs using the rapid shear stress of the University’s revolutionary vortex fluidic device (VFD).

“Silicon is currently the standard for rooftop solar, and other solar panels, but they take a lot of energy to produce them. They are not as sustainable as these newer options,” says adjunct Professor Shapter, now at University of Queensland.

“Phosphorene is an exciting material because it is a good conductor that will absorb visible light. In the past most non-metallic materials would have one property but not both,” he says.

“We’ve found an exciting new way to convert exfoliated black phosphorus into phosphorene which can help produce more efficient and also potentially cheaper solar cells,” says Dr Christopher Gibson, from the College of Science and Engineering at Flinders University.

“Our latest experiments have improved the potential of phosphene in solar cells, showing an extra efficiency of 2%-3% in electricity production.”

Dr Christopher Gibson, from Flinders University.
Dr Christopher Gibson, from Flinders University.

Research into making high quality 2D phosphorene in large quantities – along with other future materials such as graphene – are paving the way to more efficient and sustainable production with the use of the SA-made VFD, near-infrared laser light pulses, and even an industrial-scale microwave oven.

The work with phosphorene is exploring the addition of different atoms to the matrix which is showing very promising results in catalysis, particularly in the area of water splitting to produce hydrogen and oxygen.

With the ability to artificially produce perovskite structures, commercial viability is at the threshold and not too far away once the cells can be successfully scaled up. Meanwhile research around the world continues to look for ways to improve and optimise perovskite cell performance.

Professor of Clean Technology Colin Raston, Dr Kasturi Vimalanathan and Dr Gibson are among a team of Flinders Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology researchers looking to improve solar cell efficiency with new and improved solar cell materials and processing systems.

Professor Shaper also is continuing the pioneering solar-cell research at the UQ with Dr Munkhbayar Batmunkh and Abdulaziz Bati, all co-authors of the new paper ‘Efficient Production of Phosphorene Nanosheets via Shear Stress Mediated Exfoliation for Low-Temperature Perovskite Solar Cells.

The new paper by M Batmunkh, K Vimalanathan, C Wu, ASR Bati, L Yu, SA Tawfik, MJ Ford, TJ Macdonald, CL Raston, S Priya, CT Gibson and JG Shapter (University of Queensland, Pennsylvania State University, Virginia Tech, UTS, RMIT, UCL and Flinders University) has been published in Small Methods (Wiley) DOI: 10.1002/smtd.201800521.

The latest study was supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Program, Royal Society of Chemistry research grants, Microscopy Australia, Australian National Fabrication Facility and the new Flinders Microscopy and Microanalysis Centre.

S3 Consortium Pty Ltd (CAR No.433913) is a corporate authorised representative of LeMessurier Securities Pty Ltd (AFSL No. 296877). The information contained in this article is general information only. Any advice is general advice only. Neither your personal objectives, financial situation nor needs have been taken into consideration. Accordingly you should consider how appropriate the advice (if any) is to those objectives, financial situation and needs, before acting on the advice.

Conflict of Interest Notice

S3 Consortium Pty Ltd does and seeks to do business with companies featured in its articles. As a result, investors should be aware that the Firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this article. Investors should consider this article as only a single factor in making any investment decision. The publishers of this article also wish to disclose that they may hold this stock in their portfolios and that any decision to purchase this stock should be done so after the purchaser has made their own inquires as to the validity of any information in this article.

Publishers Notice

The information contained in this article is current at the finalised date. The information contained in this article is based on sources reasonably considered to be reliable by S3 Consortium Pty Ltd, and available in the public domain. No “insider information” is ever sourced, disclosed or used by S3 Consortium.

Thanks for subscribing!

X