- Researchers at Penn State were able to create very large bulk samples of halide perovskites within .2 inch/minute using EM-FAST method
- The process uses dry powders and applying electric current and pressure on these to create new materials, instead of wet chemistry
- They believe this new sintering method has a 100% yield and can use various new ingredients and dopants to further improve its use for solar energy devices
Using the electrical and mechanical field-assisted sintering technique (EM-FAST), researchers at the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) claim to have found a way to ‘easily create very large bulk samples’ of halide perovskite materials ‘within several minutes’—read at .2 inch/minute—as against the excellent but expensive wet chemistry process.
Large size halide perovskite materials thus created were seen to have maintained high performance in laboratory tests, according to the team whose findings have been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications with the title A universal all-solid synthesis for high throughput production of halide perovskite.
Under wet chemistry approach, materials are first liquified and then solidified into thin films. Along with being expensive, this process doesn’t work for creating large perovskites and the solvents used may be toxic.
In the EM-FAST method that fetched it .2 inch/minute result, the team used layers of dry powders and applied electric current and pressure on the powders to create new materials. They also call the method spark plasma sintering and claim it has a 100% yield since all the raw ingredients are used in the final device ‘as opposed to 20% to 30% in solution-based processing’.
It also enables the use of new dopants, ingredients to customize the device which may not be compatible with wet chemistry that’s conventionally used to make thin films, the team claims.
“Our technique is the best of both worlds,” said a researcher professor at Penn State and a Co-Author, Bed Poudel. “We get single-crystal-like properties, and we don’t have to worry about size limitations or any contamination or yield of toxic materials.”
The researchers believe their findings can be further researched to achieve new breakthroughs in the future in the perovskite domain. “This opens up possibilities to design and develop new classes of materials, including better thermoelectric and solar materials, as well as X- and γ-ray detectors,” said Assistant Research Professor at Penn State and a Co-Author of the study, Amin Nozariasbmarz.
Considered a promising material to create high efficiency solar cells at low cost, the scientific community has been working on improving the stability of halide perovskites. Recently the US University of Rochester claimed that use of metal instead of glass as a substrate for lead-halide perovskites led to them recording 250% increase in its light conversion efficiency (see Use Of Metal Helps Improve Perovskite Efficiency).