Perovskites in space

Scientists led by the Technical University of Munich have packed a variety of perovskite and organic solar cells onto a rocket, and sent it into orbit 240 kilometers above the planet’s surface. Their results demonstrate strong potential for such technologies to power satellites and even deep space missions.

Zebra IBC cell with 24% efficiency moves to large-scale production

Netherlands based manufacturer Energyra this week introduced a new back contact module, which it has developed in partnership with Dutch research institute TNO and Germany’s ISC Konstanz. A prototype module was unveiled yesterday in a small presentation at Energyra’s factory in Zaandam, Netherlands. The company is targeting large-scale manufacturing by the end of 2020.

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Solving a metal oxide mystery

An international group of scientists has discovered a ‘space charge’ mechanism that explains why certain metal oxides used as electrodes in lithium-ion batteries exhibit higher storage capacities than should be theoretically possible. The research, according to the group, will unlock new pathways to the development of more advanced energy storage systems.

A cell so thin, it can rest on a soap bubble

Scientists at Saudia Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology demonstrated an organic PV cell that can simply be printed onto a piece of paper. The cell set a new efficiency record for a fully inkjet-printed device, and its designers envisage applications in integrated medical sensors.

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Lithium metal enabler for low temperature batteries

Scientists in the United States demonstrated a new route to improving battery performance. The group integrated a self-assembling layer which forms on the surface of the anode, preventing the formation of dendrites. While their prototype has a very short lifetime, the group is convinced approach could lead to better performing batteries, and is particularly promising for low temperature applications.

Slimming down on silver

Using an innovative high-speed video setup, scientists in Germany were able to observe the screen-printing process used in solar cell metallization, on a time scale of less than 50 milliseconds. Insights into the paste’s behavior and the mechanisms at work during screen printing will improve the process and the formulation of the silver paste it relies on.

In search of the ‘most rational design’ for anti-reflective coating

Scientists in Spain have tested various properties of anti-reflective and anti-soiling coatings for PV module glass, aiming to develop a material that offers the best balance of desired material properties at the lowest cost. Over a year of testing, the best coatings were shown to boost module output by around 2%, and the group also made several observations that could influence future developments of coatings for PV module front glass.

New pathways for tin-monosulfide PV

Scientists in Japan have developed a new process for the fabrication of crystalline tin monosulfide (SnS). By facilitating the growth of crystals measuring up to 24mm in diameter, the process could help overcome some of the challenges to squeezing higher efficiencies out of this cheap, abundant material.

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Degradation and regeneration in polysilicon passivation layers

Scientists in Australia took a close look at the long-term performance of passivation layers in silicon solar cells, and discovered a surprising process of degradation and regeneration at work within the material. The results could have implications on the processes used in industrial scale solar cell production.

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In search of cost-effective techniques for III-V cell production

Scientists in Canada have discovered a promising technique for the production of gallium-arsenide solar cells. Growing these cells directly onto a silicon substrate is a promising strategy that could cut out some of the technology’s exorbitant production costs. And by making that silicon porous, scientists may have taken a step toward producing high-performance III-V solar cells at a significantly lower cost.

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