Professor René Wasserman Award 2017 - Michael Saliba

© 2017 Michael Saliba

© 2017 Michael Saliba

Highly stable and efficient perovskite solar cells via multication engineering

"For his pioneering research in the field of triple and quadruple cation perovskites. His discovery has allowed to improve the efficiency and stability of perovskite solar cells that are presently under intensive investigations worldwide."

Currently, over 80% of all energy production is from fossil fuels causing catastrophic global warming. A more sustainable energy source are solar cells made from recently developed perovskites, which are high-quality, low-cost semiconductors that can be made into efficient, light-weight, and flexible optoelectronic devices such as lasers, LEDs, and solar cells. Intriguingly, this “wonder material” can dramatically boost silicon solar cells (that currently produce the majority of solar electricity). Such combined perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells have the potential to be a disruptive technology to trigger a “solar energy revolution”. Unfortunately, perovskites degrade rapidly at elevated temperatures, which is one of the main tests for passing industrial norms.

To answer this challenge, Dr. Saliba developed a new family of perovskites adding more stable inorganic metal ions (published in Energy & Environmental Science and Science1,2). The new generation of perovskite materials have a substantially suppressed amount of detrimental impurities leading to materials that are more temperature, humidity and phase stable (highly attractive for lasers and LEDs). The reported solar cells show performances close to the theoretical limit. Importantly, stable device operation at elevated temperature, as required by industry, could be shown for the first time, which is a key breakthrough for commercialization.

(1) Saliba et al. Cesium-containing triple cation perovskite solar cells: improved stability, reproducibility and high efficiency. Energy & Environmental Science (2016)
(2) Saliba et al. Incorporation of rubidium cations into perovskite solar cells improves photovoltaic performance. Science (2016)