A team working at the University of Syndey in Australia has created next-gen self-healing solar panels that could revolutionize their usage in space-based operations. The new technology utilizes what the researchers call a “miracle material” known as perovskite.
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Previously, perovskite has been used to create standard silicon solar cells with increased efficiency. As such, its promise is two-fold, especially if it does indeed have some self-healing capabilities. The team detailed the new solar panels in a study published in Advanced Energy Materials.
This substance has been touted for years as having “special” properties, but it’s important to remember that there are no products that use it extensively. That being said, the idea of being able to make self-healing solar panels is intriguing and exciting, especially as more satellites are sure to be sent into space in the coming years.
Reducing the radiation that satellites are exposed to is important to produce spacecrafts that will last much longer on low Earth orbit.
The belief is that the degradation caused by radiation in space could be reversed by using a heat treatment on the perovskite solar cells while in the vacuum of space. However, at the moment, the only tests we have to go off of are the miniature tests done using a microprobe that mimicked the proton radiation exposure solar cells typically undergo.
The results are exciting, to be sure, but it will remain to be seen if perovskite solar cells are the basis of self-healing, next-generation solar panels like these scientists believe they are. It is clear that a proper space test will be needed to determine the efficiency and self-healing capabilities of these cells.
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