A team of scientists at Columbia University has discovered the possibility of greatly boosting the efficiency of hybrid organic inorganic perovskite (HOIP) solar cells.

The team showed how HOIPs have a far lower rate of energy loss than silicon cells, making it possible for the harvesting of excess electronic energy to increase the efficiency of solar cells. The recent Columbia study has actually found that it's possible to make HOIP-based solar cells even more efficient than anyone thought possible.

The researchers state that "We're talking about potentially doubling the efficiency of solar cells", however, many challenges remain like handling the lead and water sensitivity issues.

After demonstrating this, the team then turned to tackle the question of what it is about the molecular structure of HOIPs that gives them their unique properties; They discovered that the same mechanism that slows down the cooling of electron energy also protects the electrons from bumping into defects. This “protection” makes the HOIPs turn a blind eye to the many defects in a material developed from room-temperature and solution processing, thus allowing an imperfect material to behave like a perfect semiconductor.