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New method will search for better solar cells, transparent technology and more

New materials can improve the efficiency, service life or price of semiconductors. (Image: pixabay/PublicDomainPictures)
New materials can improve the efficiency, service life or price of semiconductors. (Image: pixabay/PublicDomainPictures)
An automated process, a hyperspectral camera and the prospect of further optimizations are driving semiconductor development. And it is not only further improvements in photovoltaics that are to be tackled.

Solar cells based on perovskite in particular are a good example that illustrates the opportunities offered by the new, computer-aided technology. The mineral promises an outstanding electricity yield, which would be well over 30 percent in a multi-layer solar module.

However, its longevity leaves something to be desired, which could be changed by adding further elements, changing the manufacturing process or using additional coatings. However, the choice of candidates and the number of possibilities is huge. In addition, efficiency can deteriorate in parallel.

An automated process, developed at MIT and published in Nature Communications is intended to radically speed up this laborious and, above all, lengthy process of material analysis. There is currently talk of an 85-fold increase in the speed at which properties can be analyzed, with the aim of achieving a further increase.

This is made possible by two algorithms that examine images of the samples taken by a hyperspectral camera. Several hundred of these could be reliably analyzed thanks to the photographs, which show far more than visible light. The time required is stated in the study as less than 30 minutes, which would otherwise have required several days of measurements.

The focus was on the band gap, which also determines the electrical conductivity, and the durability of the material. Both are essential for efficient and durable solar cells. In the subsequent investigation of already known alloys, the accuracy was around 98 percent. Not bad.

The process of providing new samples in new compositions is currently being optimized. Different combinations are to be printed in order to obtain the results in just a few minutes. The aim is to produce and test new materials without interruption. Quite realistic millions of different material samples could then be tested completely automatically.

The aim is not only to develop the next generation of solar cells. Semiconductors made from completely new materials, completely transparent circuits and entire devices as well as better, more efficient screens are also among the planned projects.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2024 06 > New method will search for better solar cells, transparent technology and more
Mario Petzold, 2024-06-12 (Update: 2024-06-15)