A new study, published in the journal Acta Materialia, finds that though perovskite films tend to crack easily, those cracks are easily healed with some compression or a little bit of heat. That bodes well, the researchers say, for the use of inexpensive perovskites to replace or complement pricy silicon in solar cell technologies. Nitin Padture, a professor in Brown’s School of Engineering and director of the Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation led the study, with doctoral student Srinivas Yadavalli as first author.
For the study, Yadavalli deposited perovskite films on plastic substrates. He then bent the substrate to put tensile (pulling apart) stress on the perovskite film while using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) to detect cracks. Once the film was cracked, the researchers then bent the substrate in the opposite direction to see if compressive stress might heal those cracks. Read more.