PMI SPECIAL SEMINAR: Eugene Katz, Swiss Institute for Dryland Environmental and Energy Research and The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Jan 24, 2023, 11:00 am12:00 pm
Bowen Hall Auditorium 222


Event Description

The Third Perovskite Revolution: Why, What and Why Not Yet?

Abstract: The discovery of metal halide perovskites (MHPs) as photovoltaic (PV) absorbers and the subsequent meteoritic rise in perovskite solar cell (PSC) efficiency are among the most important modern scientific breakthroughs.
Today the term ‘perovskite’ is used to designate the crystalline structure of a wide variety of ABX3 ionic compounds. This name was coined for a specific mineral, calcium titanate (CaTiO3), after its discovery in the Ural Mountains of Russia. The first sample of the mineral was transferred from Saint Petersburg to Berlin in 1839 by the Russian mineralogist Alexander Kämmerer, who gave the sample to German crystallographer Gustav Rose for further investigation. Rose named the mineral after the Russian politician and mineralogist Lev Perovski. The seminar will begin with a history of this discovery.

In 1987, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Georg Bednorz and Alex Müller for the discovery of High Temperature Superconductivity. Their Nobel Lecture was titled: “Perovskite-Type Oxides: The New Approach for High-Tc Superconductivity”. Another Nobel Prize in physics (2007) was awarded for the discovery of Giant Magnetoresistance (GMR), an abnormally high change in resistance of a conductor when it is placed in an external magnetic field. This quantum mechanical effect is observed in an alternating sequence of ferromagnetic and non-magnetic conductive nanolayers. The discovery of the GMR gave rise to an increased interest in finding related effects among bulk materials. Resistance changes in an applied magnetic field several magnitudes higher than for GMR was observed in certain manganese perovskites. The observed phenomenon became known as colossal magnetoresistance (CMR).

In 2007, PSC efficiency didn’t exceed 3%, but today it is above 25%. I thus consider the development of highly efficient MHP photovoltaics as the third “perovskite revolution” of modern time.
Today’s solar cell manufacturing is dominated by silicon panels that have almost reached their maximum efficiency. The development of efficient PSCs has changed the situation, paving the way for so-called perovskite/silicon tandem cells with 30% efficiency already demonstrated. The prospect of overcoming 35% is now discussed. The main obstacle is that the PSC efficiency deteriorates rapidly under PV operation. The seminar will be finalized with a short review of our research toward the improvement of PSC operating stability.

Speaker Bio: Eugene A. Katz is professor at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He received his MSc degree (1982) in Semiconductor Materials Science and Ph.D. (1990) in solid state physics from the National University of Science and Technology “MISIS”, Moscow. His research interests include studies and development of a wide range of materials and devices for solar energy conversion such as organic and perovskite-based photovoltaics, concentrator solar cells operated at ultra-high solar concentration (up to 10,000 suns), as well as history of science. He has published more than 140 peer-reviewed papers on these topics (including those in Nature Energy, Advanced Materials, Energy & Environmental Science, etc) as well as popular-scientific book and a number of articles on science history and fullerene-like structures in nanomaterials, living organisms and architecture. Based on the latter activity he has developed and is teaching an interdisciplinary course “Bridges between fine art and natural sciences: cases of fullerenes, polyhedra, symmetry”.

Prof. Katz was awarded the IAAM Medal (by the International Association of Advanced Materials) for the outstanding research in the field of New Energy Materials & Technology.