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Australian scientists ‘drastically improve’ new solar cell technology

Australian researchers have found ways to improve the durability of new solar technology that could rival or complement traditional silicon cells, bringing its mass production a step closer to reality.

Conventional solar cells used on roofs and elsewhere took four decades to pass efficiency rates of 25 per cent, a milestone new so-called perovskite cells have reached in about a quarter of the time while using low-cost materials. The stability of the new technology is yet to be assured.

Anita Ho-Baillie, the inaugural John Hooke chair of Nanoscience at the University of Sydney, helped lead research at UNSW that could open the way for the mass production of a new type of solar cell closer to commercial production.

Anita Ho-Baillie, the inaugural John Hooke chair of Nanoscience at the University of Sydney, helped lead research at UNSW that could open the way for the mass production of a new type of solar cell closer to commercial production.Credit:UNSW

Perovskite cells can be 500 times thinner than silicon ones and potentially much more flexible, meaning they could be used to coat everything from buildings to cars and drones. So far its commercial application has been limited because they are less durable to weather.

Research by a team led by Anita Ho-Baillie, now at the University of Sydney, and Lei Shi from the University of NSW, has shown how cheap but high-performance polymer coatings used in double glazing can improve the durability of the cells so they can pass three key international standards for heat and humidity.

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