These types of cells can revolutionize solar energy, dramatically reducing the initial investment. It requires a material that gives it thermal stability and coffee seems to be the answer.

Perovskite solar cells aim to reduce the cost of solar energy. To offer flexibility, are lightweight, have custom form factors, and can respond to different wavelengths of light, which allows them to convert more of the sunlight that reaches them into electricity.

Despite the advantages outlined, its commercial production presents some difficulties.

Solar cells require high thermal stability because they are continuously exposed to sunlight and this fact heats up the devices.

The problem with perovskite cells is that the materials degrade and become less stable over time, so it’s difficult for them to last 20-30 years like conventional solar panels.

Many people believe that perovskite solar cells contain this mineral, but this is not true. They are so named because they mimic the molecular structure of perovskite.. They are made of very inexpensive materials, the union of which produces the crystal structure.

The structure is composed of a ultra-thin film of inexpensive materials like methylammonium, lead and iodine. Precisely, the crystal structure makes them very efficient at converting light into electricity.

Perovskite cells love coffee.

Scientists at UCLA are looking to correct thermal instability in perovskite cells. A UCLA graduate, Rui Wang used to have coffee with his colleagues when he planned to study chemical structure of caffeine, in order to use it to interact with the rest of the materials carried by the perovskite cells.

Caffeine reaches its boiling point at 300 degrees Celsius. This temperature is higher than that reached by the solar cells in operation, so it is possible that they improve the thermal stability of the device.

The research team produced a personalized perovskite film. To do this, he mixed dimethylformamide, lead iodide and methylammonium iodide.

The combination produced a liquid solution, then they added the caffeine.

The team did their respective tests to see if they withstand high temperatures. Experiments showed that the device retained its thermal stability for more than 55 days, while conserved 86% of the energy consumed.

The chemical structure of caffeine forms a very strong bond with lead ions, which facilitates the crystal stabilization. With a clear understanding of molecular blockade, researchers are evaluating other chemicals that may promote thermal stability in perovskite cells.

More information: newsroom.ucla.edu

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