Imperfect Thin Film Harnesses Solar Energy

Imperfect Thin Film Harnesses Solar Energy
An innovative new thin film material could lower solar energy costs by allowing for efficient energy collection despite small imperfections.

Developed by researchers from the University of Buffalo, the thin films are made using barium zirconium sulfide (BaZrS3), an abundant and non-toxic compound. The team vaporized barium zirconium oxide with a laser and deposited it onto a sapphire surface to create a film, then used a chemical reaction called sulfurization to covert the film to the final version. The result is a thin film able to convert sunlight into energy more efficiently than conventional silicon-based materials, even when the film has imperfections.

According to Hao Zeng, Ph.D., “Our thin films open the door to a new direction in semiconductor research. There’s a chance to explore the potential of a whole new class of materials.”

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