A new solar cell for space exploration is being developed in the UK?
The UK is investing large amounts of money in research to develop new solar cells for use in space. Solar cells that use solar energy that pours semi-permanently from space are considered an important power source for space missions. It is also attracting attention as an alternative to reducing dependence on fossil fuels in the space industry.
Britain’s Warwick University announced on the 3rd that it has received approval from the European Research Council (ERC) for research on finding candidate materials used in space solar cells. A five-year study costs 2.2 million pounds.
Silicon used in conventional solar cell materials has the disadvantage of being weak in durability and vulnerable to cosmic radiation. Currently, the material that attracts attention as a solar cell material for space is metal halogen type perovskite. Its advantage is its durability to maintain stable functions even outside the atmosphere. However, this also has a problem of low stability and short lifespan.
The research team analyzes the structure of metal halogen-type perovskites at the atomic level through nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis to find new candidate materials. Nuclear magnetic resonance analysis is a chemical analysis method that uses the phenomenon that atomic nuclei absorb energy generated by magnetic fields and transfer to other energy. The research team plans to purchase a 400 megahertz (MHz) nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer at a cost of 900,000 pounds.
The research team aims to identify the structure of the metal halogen-type perovskite to determine the cause of its short lifespan. If we find the cause and compensate for the shortcomings, we can find new solar cell materials suitable for space missions.
Dominic Kubiki, a professor at Warwick University in the U.K., who leads the study, said, “If we find out why existing solar cells degrade in the atmospheric environment outside of Earth, we will be able to design new and better materials.”