German researchers create solar panels 1,000 times more efficient thanks to titanium

Conventional solar panels are mainly composed of silicon, a semiconductor material. These panels consist of multiple Photovoltaic cells interconnected, thus forming photovoltaic modules.

The typical efficiency of solar panels currently on the market ranges from 15% and 22%depending on factors such as the quality of the photovoltaic panel, the technology used and environmental conditions.

Figures, therefore, that encourage the industry and the science to look for different ways to take advantage of that great improvement that photovoltaic energy still has.

The photovoltaic effect of ferroelectric crystals can be significantly amplified.

Some researchers from the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have carried out research that demonstrates that the photovoltaic effect of ferroelectric crystals can be much more significant.

The key to this advance is to periodically place three different materials in a network, multiplying their effect up to 1,000. In the research, alternating crystalline layers of barium titanium, strontium titanium and calcium titanium. These findings, published in the journal Science Advanceshave the potential to improve the efficiency of solar cells greatly.

Unlike the silicon based solar cellswhose efficiency is a little more limited, ferroelectric crystals such as barium titanium offer significant advantages. These materials, which have positive and negative charges spatially separated, they allow the generation of electricity from light.

The results of the studies are very promising

The investigations showed the alternation of a ferroelectric layer with two paraelectric layers different multiplied the photovoltaic effect. This was achieved by embedding barium titanium between strontium titanate and calcium titanategiving rise to a composite material of 500 layers with a thickness of 200 nanometers.

Photoelectric measurements revealed that this new material had a current flow up to 1,000 times stronger than pure barium titanium from a similar thicknessalthough the proportion of barium titanate was reduced by almost two thirds.

This robust photoelectric effect remained constant over a period of six months, which suggests its viability in the long term. On the other hand, the potential demonstrated by this new point of view offers several hopes for practical applications in solar panels, as the layered structure shows higher performance in all temperature ranges and greater durability, without requiring special packaging.