The transition to a low-carbon society and green economy by 2050 is one of the biggest challenges in the world to mitigate the dramatic risks associated to climate change. Solar power is gaining more and more attention as a possible solution for covering up to 20% of the Global Energy Demand by 2050. Photovoltaic (PV) devices can provide the world with vast amounts of clean electricity that would vastly exceed our needs and reduce or eliminate carbon dioxide emissions. To do so, we need an affordable, reliable and efficient solar cells. In the last decade,) Hybrid Perovskite (HP) solar cells (HPSC), using methyl ammonium lead iodide (CH3NH3PbI3) as pioneer material, have been revolutionizing the PV scene. With impressive power conversion efficiency (PCE) >25% they are climbing over the existing solar technologies and are widely recognized as one of the most exciting fields of research of our time. However, despite the full potential of this technology and the big excitement that came along, a big barrier hampers their commercialization: the poor device stability under operative conditions (HPSCs degrade in ambient air)
More in details, the project aims at solving the stability and toxicity issues developing multi-dimensional hybrid interfaces as lego-bricks for a new efficient, stable, environmentally-friendly solar technology. A synergistic effect resulting from different dimensionalities combined together will lead to interfaces with new physical properties and new functionalities that can be manipulated “ad hoc”. The derived multidisciplinary approach combines the design of new advanced materials (including non-toxic), cutting-edge photophysical investigations, and innovative device concepts (i.e. functionalized molecules as lead trapping layers) that will enable a big jump in materials science, fundamental physico-chemical understanding and technological innovation.
Exploring photoferroelectricity in halide perovskites for optoelectronics (EXPRESS)
Optoelectronics, including energy harvesting systems, sensors, and memories, must sustain this challenge, capitalizing on the development of new generation low-cost semiconductors and on the application of related new physical phenomena. Among others, ferroelectric semiconductors, i.e. materials showing spontaneous electric polarization, have huge potential for applications including memories, field effect transistors, sensors and electromechanical devices. This has been realized by exploiting the possibility of coupling the ferroelectric response with other physical properties. EXPRESS aims to explore the role of potential ferroelectric phenomena in new class of solution-processable polar semiconductors, namely layered hybrid halide perovskites.
This project, funded and realized in collaboration with ENI S.p.A., focuses on the development of laboratory-scale high efficiency and stable perovskite solar cells. Then the work will be extended to devices and modules with dimensions suitable for commercial integration. Alongside classic power generation, perovskites can promisingly be employed in portable devices, fulfilling new modern needs, for instance, in the IoT field. In fact, their suitability to be printed on flexible substrates, in air, along with their tunable bandgap make these materials an appealing technology to face the new market segments asking for adaptable and flexible devices, where Si solar panels fail.
Preserving and improving the health of our planet and its people are 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Nanoscience and biotechnology address these goals through the multiscale design and manufacturing of smart materials, devices, and therapeutics but innovation in this space relies on constantly evolving equipment. HighLight will incubate multidisciplinary teams to create breakthrough green tech and healthcare products and translate them into societal benefits via technology transfer and policy guidance With highLight, we will go beyond this state-of-the-art by introducing technologies to characterize the dynamic behavior of nanomaterials at time scales ranging from atoms (10-15 s) to organisms, communities, and environments