New Semiconductors could enable breakthrough in Solar Cells and LEDs

New Semiconductors could enable breakthrough in Solar Cells and LEDs

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By Wisse Hettinga

A new breed of semiconductors that could enable breakthroughs in solar cells and LEDs will benefit from cutting-edge manufacturing approaches – a new project led by the University of Michigan

The effort combines hands-on work that improves upon the process of layer-by-layer deposition of semiconductor materials during production with an information-sharing approach that boosts cooperation between companies while protecting proprietary information and worker interests.

Halide perovskites, a class of materials that has been largely developed over the past decade, represent a promising new semiconductor material that can, among other things, boost solar cell efficiency. How promising? In less than 15 years of study, solar cells utilizing perovskites have increased their efficiency from 10% to 26%.

“What’s amazing is the rapid rate of how perovskites have caught up to silicon,” said Neil Dasgupta, U-M associate professor in both mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering, and the principal investigator of the grant. “From a manufacturing standpoint, they can be less energy intensive to process. You can print them almost like an ink onto materials. They’re also very tuneable and customizable.”

This means perovskites can be optimized to capture different parts of the spectrum. It also means that they may ultimately be cheaper to produce.

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