Turning Up the Light

Over the past 4 years, a new class of materials for making solar cells has burst onto the scene. These materials, known as perovskites, are cheap and easy to make and have already achieved efficiencies in solar energy conversion of 15%, better than many of their better established rivals. Researchers think they may soon do even better—perhaps achieving 30% efficiency—by integrating perovskites with conventional silicon solar cells. But if the new contenders are to make a commercial impact, researchers will need to learn how to make larger perovskite solar cells and tightly seal them to keep them from degrading on contact with water.

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