Scientists revolutionize solar power with safer, long-lasting perovskite cells

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Solar power is getting a big upgrade thanks to scientists in South Korea.

They’re working on a special kind of solar panel made from a material called perovskite, which could be much better than the solar panels we see today.

These new panels are great at turning sunlight into electricity, and they might even replace the old silicon panels we use now.

Perovskite panels are special because they’re made of a mix that includes some metals like lead or tin, which helps them work really well.

But there’s been a big problem: lead. If lead gets out from these panels, it could be bad for the environment. Plus, these panels don’t like water much. When they get wet, they can start to break down.

To fix these issues, a team from Pusan National University has been experimenting with something called crown ethers.

These crown ethers do a really cool trick. They grab onto the lead so tightly that it can’t leak out into the environment. They also make the panels much stronger against water, so they last longer even in very humid places.

The researchers found a particular crown ether, named B18C6, that works the best. It makes the panels more efficient, meaning they can turn more sunlight into electricity.

With B18C6, the panels could convert 21.7% of sunlight into power, which is a big deal. And unlike other perovskite panels that haven’t been treated, these don’t let any lead escape, even when scientists looked really closely.

Even after being in a very humid room for over 12 days, these special panels didn’t break down, while normal perovskite panels would have started to show problems.

Looking ahead, this new tech could change a lot of things in the next few years. It’s not just about making better solar panels that could one day replace the ones on our roofs.

These perovskite panels could also work really well indoors, powering gadgets and things connected to the Internet without needing batteries or plugs. This could save a lot of energy.

In the future, this technology could do even more, like helping make hydrogen fuel, creating flexible screens for devices, or developing new materials for electronics.

The work these scientists are doing isn’t just about making better solar panels; it’s about opening up new possibilities for cleaner energy and advanced technology.