A conversation over coffee had led to caffeine-boosted solar cells that offer better performance and energy conversion.
The new technology grew out of a morning meeting at UCLA, when a comment on coffee reminded the team that the alkaloid compound of caffeine can improve the thermal stability of the light-harvesting perovskite crystal layer in solar cells. Inspired, the team added caffeine to the perovskite layer of forty solar cells, prompting an interaction between the caffeine and lead ions that created a “molecular lock.” This lock protects the perovskite film from heat damage while also increasing the solar cell efficiency from 17 percent to more than 20 percent.
According to PhD candidate Rui Wang, "Caffeine can help the perovskite achieve high crystallinity, low defects, and good stability. This means it can potentially play a role in the scalable production of perovskite solar cells."
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