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Toxicity of organometal halide perovskite solar cells

In the last few years, the advent of metal halide perovskite solar cells has revolutionized the prospects of next-generation photovoltaics. As this technology is maturing at an exceptional rate, research on its environmental impact is becoming increasingly relevant.

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Figure 1: Schematic overview of absorption, distribution and excretion of Pb compounds in the human body, compiled from references 3,4,18,19,20,21.
Figure 2: Concise schematic of the life cycle of perovskite solar cells, indicating the most important hazards (red) and strategies for their control (green).
Figure 3: Exposure to SnI2 is much more acutely toxic to zebrafish than exposure to PbI2, which correlates directly with the pH of the growth medium8.

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Acknowledgements

We are very grateful to our co-workers at Hasselt University and the University of Liège, and we thank the GIGA-R zebrafish facility for supporting the toxicology-related activities concerning perovskites. In particular, we thank D. Duy Thanh (University of Liège), Prof. J. Manca (Hasselt University) and Prof. H.-G. Boyen (Hasselt University). We would also like to thank Prof. H. Snaith (University of Oxford) for fruitful discussions. B.C. and A.E. are postdoctoral research fellows of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). M.M. is a Chercheur Qualifié du F.N.R.S.

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Babayigit, A., Ethirajan, A., Muller, M. et al. Toxicity of organometal halide perovskite solar cells. Nature Mater 15, 247–251 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat4572

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