Editorial Article: MATERIALS UPDATE: Pushing Battery and Solar Cell Research to the Next Level…

From news to application articles, discover the latest advances and methodologies in materials and energy research

06 Jun 2018

In recent months there have been fascinating developments in the energy research sector of materials science. From the development of lead-free and heat stable perovskites for solar applications to advancements in nuclear-diamond batteries, SelectScience® brings together all the latest news, application notes and videos from across the energy, fuel cells and batteries communities.

In the News –  The Latest in Energy and Materials


PROTOYPE NUCLEAR BATTERY: Could this Diamond / Nickel-63 Battery be the Future of Power Generation?

Nuclear batteries, or betavoltaics, have recently stepped back into the light with the development of a battery producing 3,300 milliwatt-hours of energy per gram, ten times more than the specific energy of commercial chemical cells. The cell was designed at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, composed of diamond and nickel-63. Find out more here: Prototype Nuclear Battery Packs 10 Times More Power >>


ENHANCING ALTERNATIVE SOLAR MATERIALS: Lead-Free and Heat-Stable Perovskite Materials

Perovskites have emerged in solar cell research as a promising alternative to silicon-based photovoltaics with high efficiencies and the functionality to create thin films of the material. However, most are either unstable at the high temperatures that solar cells operate at, or contain lead, which is highly toxic. Recent developments in America and Japan have provided neat solutions to these complications, which you can read more about here: Researchers Discover New Lead-Free Perovskite Material for Solar Cells >> and here: Improving Prospects of Perovskite Solar Cells >>


COMPUTATIONAL ASSISTANCE: Screening More Photovoltaic Materials with AI Software

In the search for new and efficient materials for solar applications, to save time and effort, scientists are turning to computational methods to screen for well-matched solar materials. A team of scientists at Osaka University used machine learning to build a model predicting the efficiency of potential new organic photovoltaic devices, gathering data from around 500 studies on ~1200 organic photovoltaic materials.  Find out more here: AI Software Assists Design of New Material for Solar Cells >>


In the Lab – Application Notes and Methods


TIME-RESOLVED EMISSION SPECTROSCOPY: Determining the Emission Lifetime of Perovskite Materials

Measuring the kinetics of the photoluminescent decay of a photovoltaic material is important to determine its efficiency in solar applications, hence time-resolved emission spectroscopy is a must for those working on photovoltaics. In this application note, the methodology for measuring the time-resolved emission of a perovskite photovoltaic material is outlined: Measurement of Carrier Lifetime in Perovskite for Solar Cell Applications >>


BATTERY STRESS TEST: How to Test Your Batteries Against High-Current Pulses 

In developing new batteries, stress tests are important to see if there are any changes to its characteristics such as electrical impedance. In this application note, a method for testing high-current pulses for battery research is discussed: High-Current Pulses for Battery Research>>


MICROSTRUCTURE ANALYSIS: Applying Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy (FIB-SEM) on Solar Devices

Microstructure can often play an important role in the efficiency of a device, from solar cells to other semiconducting devices. This application note details how FIB-SEM can be used to reveal the internal structure of the cell, enabling detailed characterization of the electrodes and microstructure throughout the cell by STEM, EDS and SIMS: FIB-SEM Investigations of the Microstructure of CIGS Solar Cells >>


OPTIMIZED IMAGING: How to Image Li-Ion Battery Components at Low Acceleration Voltages

Rechargeable Li-ion batteries are complex electrochemical energy storage devices and are the power source of choice for portable electronic devices such as cellphones and laptops. Analyzing Li-ion battery materials using electron microscopy can be challenging as the charging effects of high accelerating voltages can damage the sensitive components. This white paper by ZEISS demonstrates how SEM can be used to analyze the anode, cathode and separator of a Li-ion battery at low accelerating voltage: Imaging Li-Ion Battery Components at Low Accelerating Voltages>>


At Your Desk – Videos for Your Coffee Break


CONTROLING VARIABLES - Energy Storage Research at WMG. 

Learn how Mark Amor-Segan, principle engineer at the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), battery testing facility, University of Warwick, UK, ensures a controlled environment for energy storage research and battery cell prototypes being developed at WMG. Watch here: Controlling Environments for Energy Storage Research >>




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