Perovskite unleaded: how to make super performing solar-panels lead-free

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The teams of Prof. David Egger from TUM's NAT School and IAS's Hans Fischer Senior Fellow Prof. Laura Herz (University of Oxford) recently reported an intriguing observation. Together with Doug Fabini (MIT) and Omer Yaffe's group (Weizmann Institute of Science), they investigated the role of lone-pair electrons in halide perovskites. These materials deliver record-breaking high-efficiency solar cells, yet the most promising material candidates contain the toxic element lead. In an effort to replace lead by other elements, they compared cubic CsPbBr₃ and CsSrBr₃, with the latter having no lone pairs. Their study published in Nature Communications found significant differences in the electronic structures and bonding characteristics of both compounds, despite their similar high-temperature cubic crystal structures and lattice parameters. Remarkably, the complex lattice dynamics was found to be strikingly similar irrespective of the presence of lone-pair electrons. Their study sheds light on the peculiarity of lead's lone-pair electrons, which is crucial for developing safer, lead-free alternatives in perovskite materials​.

For more details, you can read the full article on Nature Communications here.