Cheap Perovskite Solar Cells Reach 24.5% Efficiency

Rice University engineers say they’ve solved a long-standing conundrum in making stable, efficient solar panels out of halide perovskites. It took finding the right solvent design to apply a 2D top layer of desired composition and thickness without destroying the 3D bottom one (or vice versa). Such a cell would turn more sunlight into electricity than either layer on its own, with better stability. Chemical and biomolecular engineer Aditya Mohite and his lab at Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering reported in Science their success at building thin 3D/2D solar cells that deliver a power conversion efficiency of 24.5%. That’s as efficient as most commercially available solar cells, Mohite said.

A discovery by Rice University engineers brings efficient, stable bilayer perovskite solar cells closer to commercialization. The cells are about a micron thick, with 2D and 3D layers

This is really good for flexible, bifacial cells where light comes in from both sides and also for back-contacted cells,” the scientist said. “The 2D perovskites absorb blue and visible photons, and the 3D side absorbs near-infrared.”

Perovskites are crystals with cubelike lattices known to be efficient light harvesters, but the materials tend to be stressed by light, humidity and heat. Mohite and many others have worked for years to make perovskite solar cells practical. The new advance, he said, largely removes the last major roadblock to commercial production.

Source: https://news.rice.edu/

How To Create See-through Human Organs

Researchers in Germany have created transparent human organs using a new technology that could pave the way to print three-dimensional body parts such as kidneys for transplants. The organ is then scanned by lasers in a microscope that allows researchers to capture the entire structure, including the blood vessels and every single cell in its specific location. Using this blueprint, researchers print out the scaffold of the organ. They then load the 3D printer with stem cells which act as “ink” and are injected into the correct position making the organ functional.

The team led by Ali Erturk at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich have developed a technique that uses a solvent to make organs such as the brain and kidneys transparent. While 3D printing is already used widely to produce spare parts for industry, Erturk said the development marks a step forward for 3D printing in the medical field. Until now 3D-printed organs lacked detailed cellular structures because they were based on images from computer tomography or MRI machines, he said.

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3D transparent mouse

We can see where every single cell is located in transparent human organs. And then we can actually replicate exactly the same, using 3D bioprinting technology to make a real functional organ,” he said. “Therefore, I believe we are much closer to a real human organ for the first time now.”

Erturk’s team plan to start by creating a bioprinted pancreas over the next 2-3 years and also hope to develop a kidney within 5-6 years. The researchers will first test to see whether animals can survive with the bioprinted organs and could start clinical trials within 5-10 years, he said.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/