The recent discovery of a leadless and nontoxic perovskite by scientists may significantly boost the prospects and development of the industry's emerging perovskite PV cells.
The discovery was made by a research team from Washington University in St. Louis, which pinpointed a double-perovskite oxidant made of KBaTeBiO6 among some 30,000 oxidants. The special oxidant, which features high stability and low toxicity, can be synthesized into a semiconductor in a laboratory. The painstaking search was made via the assistance of a supercomputer.
The team is now attempting to synthesize double-perovskite semiconductors. The new semiconductor's energy gap is expected to reach 1.88 eV, which is much smaller than the 3.5 eV of most oxidants and close to that of halide perovskite, making it an ideal material with a significant application potential. Following the successful synthesizing of the semiconductor, the research team will take time to further adjust its energy gap, to approach the ideal level of 1.5 eV for application in the PV power industry.
If the mineral can be successfully synthesized, a major breakthrough will be achieved in the development of perovskite PV cells, which has long been plagued by the problem of low stability and lead content. Since its debut in 2004, the conversion rate of perovskite PV cells has jumped to 24%, up from 3.8% initially, making it a rising star in the field.