What with all the excitement over the “wonder” solar cell material perovskite, it’s easy to forget that just a few years ago graphene was all the rage for new clean tech. Well, graphene is still very much in the mix, and researchers are coalescing around the idea of combining it with perovskite in a new solar cell. Easier said than done! Perovskite solar cells like this one could be the next big thing, if a new graphene-based solution pans out (photo credit: NREL). Graphene + Perovskite In One Solar Cell For those of you new to the topic, graphene is a two-dimensional material with unique and powerful electronic properties. It was discovered in 2004 after researchers peeled a piece of sticky tape from a chunk of graphite and began poking around in the structure of the ultra-thin film clinging to the tape. Perovksite is also a mineral that lends itself to solar cell performance. Its origins go back a bit farther than graphene, having popped up in the Ural mountains in the 19th century. Nowadays, synthetic perovskite variants can be created with relative ease in the lab. The challenge for solar cell design is that both materials are finicky. […]

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