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6 May 2015 / Cambridge Journals
United States

Breakthrough in solar cell material reported in latest issue of MRS Communications

A groundbreaking paper on hybrid perovskites, one of the hottest solar cell and LED materials, has just been published in MRS Communications, a flagship journal of the Materials Research Society.
First created in 2012, perovskite solar cells have shown great promise in recent years as an affordable alternative to other solar technologies, such as photovoltaic cells typically used in solar panels. Now scientists from Wake Forest University and the University of Utah have described the very first example of field-effect modulation in perovskites (i.e. their use in transistors), with potentially far-reaching implications. 

Until now, researchers have been unable to fabricate field-effect transistors to measure the charge transport of the materials. Necessary prerequisites for a material that forms an efficient solar cell are strong optical absorption and efficient charge carrier transport. With these first generation transistors, researchers from Wake Forest and Utah were able for the first time to directly measure the ability of hybrid perovskites to transport charge, widening the spectrum of possible applications of these materials.

MRS Communications Principal Editor, Alberto Salleo from Stanford University, explains: 
'Hybrid inorganic-organic halide perovskites are a new promising materials family for low-cost and even solution-processable thin film optoelectronics. Efficient solar cells and bright light-emitting diodes using hybrid perovskites have already been demonstrated, taking the thin film electronics community by storm. In spite of estimates of high mobilities and low defect densities, field-effect devices have so far not been demonstrated. Indeed, electrostatic gating, the key operating mechanism of transistors, has remained elusive. A large part of the perovskite community remains convinced that field-effect modulation is impossible in these materials, highlighting how little is known about surfaces and defects in these materials.'
'This article is the first report of the fabrication and room-temperature operation of field-effect transistors based on hybrid perovskites. In perovskite transistors, transport is ambipolar with balanced electron and hole mobilities. These results are extremely promising as they show that hybrid perovskites can be used for low-cost thin film electronic circuits that could potentially lead to integrated optoelectronic systems and electrically pumped lasing.'
This timely paper is of enormous interest to a broad range of scientists, given the recent surge in research on perovskite based solar cells. The high efficiencies and low production costs of the crystalline material have already made it the fastest advancing solar technology to date and a commercially attractive option, with start-up companies promising modules on the market by 2017.
The peer-reviewed paper - authored by Yaochuan Mei, Chuang Zhang, Z.V. Vardeny and Oana D. Jurchescu - will be freely available via Open Access from MRS Communications, a high-impact, peer-reviewed journal focusing on groundbreaking work across the broad spectrum of materials research. You can read the full article here.


Notes to Editors:

About the Materials Research Society (MRS) 
The Materials Research Society (MRS) is an international organization of over 16,000 materials researchers from academia, industry and government, and a recognized leader in promoting the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research to improve the quality of life. MRS members are engaged and enthusiastic professionals hailing from physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and engineering - the full spectrum of materials research.

Headquartered in Warrendale, Pennsylvania (USA), MRS membership now spans over 80 countries, with approximately 48 per cent of members residing outside the United States. In addition to its communications and publications portfolio, MRS organizes high-quality scientific meetings, attracting over 13,000 attendees annually and facilitating interactions among a wide range of experts from the cutting edge of the global materials community. MRS is also a recognized leader in education outreach and advocacy for scientific research.

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About Cambridge Journals 
Cambridge Journals publishes over 340 peer-reviewed academic journals across a wide spread of subject areas, in print and online. Many of these journals are the leading academic publications in their fields and together they form one of the most valuable and comprehensive bodies of research available today.

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About Cambridge University Press 
Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Dedicated to excellence, its purpose is to further the University's objective of advancing knowledge, education, learning, and research. Its extensive peer-reviewed publishing lists comprise 36,000 titles covering academic research, professional development, nearly 300 research journals, school-level education, English language teaching and bible publishing.

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