In 10 seconds? Scientists inspired by the geometry of a fly’s eyes have come up with a hack to make solar cell materials easier to produce and more durable. This will be the key to pushing next-generation perovskite-based solar panels to the market, helping us turn to renewable energy.
Pero…what? Perovskites – organic, inorganic, or hybrid – are soft materials that share the same molecular structure as calcium titanium oxide. Some of them are ideal for solar cells because they absorb light and produce an electrical charge. Depending on whether they are added to a flexible or rigid layer of material (and dependng on its composition, which is important), their power conversion efficiency can be between 19.5-25.2%. Here is a somewhat technical description of one recent type, a 'mesoporous carbon perovskite solar cell': it consists of a fluorine-doped tin oxide glass base layer, zirconium/graphite layers, and titanium-oxide spacer layers.