Solar-cell material made fast

Here's a quick, environmentally friendly way to make a coating material that can boost the efficiency of solar cells.

A coating used in efficient solar cells can be made from environmentally friendly materials using a rapid, scalable process.

Thin films of materials called perovskite semiconductors promise to boost the efficiency of photovoltaic technology. A team led by Annamaria Petrozza and Liberato Manna of the Italian Institute of Technology in Milan and Genoa, respectively, developed a way to produce a perovskite coating at room temperature using less-toxic solvents and shorter-chained molecules, which have lower boiling points, than previous methods. Solar cells made with this coating generated an open-circuit voltage up to 1.5 volts, among the highest reported for other similar perovskite-based solar cells.

The film also dries quickly, which could make it easier to manufacture in large quantities.