Researchers have found a rather interesting way of improving solar cells' efficiency and stability with a secret ingredient -- capsaicin, the molecule that makes chili peppers spicy, and to some, incredibly delicious.
Researchers discovered that adding a sprinkle of capsaicin to a perovskite precursor can improve the efficiency of solar cells, which are the devices that make up solar panels.
The study was published in the journal Joule.
A solution from nature
Perovskite solar cells convert ultraviolet and visible light into electricity with high efficiency. However, they do have some problems that are needed to be fixed. One issue is that imperfections in the crystal structure can interfere with electrons passing through. This results in them converting the energy into heat and reducing the output.
In order to overcome this problem, the team of researchers started looking for a natural additive.
However, they needed to do a lot of experimentation to find the ideal recipe. After rigorous studies, researchers found that 0.1 percent capsaicin by weight added to a MAPbl3 perovskite precursor provided benefits.
As a result, the team reports that perovskite solar cells made with the compound had a power conversion efficiency of 21.88 percent. While this is below the record for perovskite cells, it's the highest ever achieved for polycrystalline MAPbl3 cells.
It was seen that stability also improved. It is reported that they maintain high production levels for promising periods of time.
This is not the first time researchers have discovered such a technique. Previously, it was discovered that solar cells' production could be increased when dosed with caffeine.