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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

TIFR Research Team Awarded Grant to Revolutionize Solar Energy


A groundbreaking research team led by Pabitra K. Nayak from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Hyderabad, has been selected for the prestigious ‘Challenge Awards 2021 on Solar Energy’ by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.

This esteemed recognition comes with a research grant of Rs. 6.8 crore and aims to support the development of solar energy-based devices and systems that address the technological challenges of the future. The team’s ambitious goal is to create highly efficient and stable solar cells using organic and metal halide perovskite-based semiconducting materials. With the potential to revolutionize the solar energy landscape, their research holds promise for significant advancements in sustainable energy generation

The Challenges of Solar Energy:

Solar energy has emerged as a leading renewable energy source, but there are still technological challenges to overcome. The Challenge Awards 2021 sought proposals to develop innovative solutions for the future of solar energy. Pabitra K. Nayak and the multi-institute research team, consisting of experts from TIFR Hyderabad, IIT Bombay, IISER Berhampur, and HRI Prayagraj, rose to the occasion.

Pioneering Organic and Metal Halide Perovskites:

The team’s primary objective is to develop semiconducting materials based on organic and metal halide perovskites, which have shown immense potential for highly efficient solar cells. Pabitra K. Nayak will focus on developing new types of organic and perovskite materials for incorporation into solar cells. Meanwhile, P. K. Madhu will utilize his expertise in high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to investigate how the structure of these materials influences solar cell function.

Fabrication and Stability of Solar Cells:

Two key co-investigators, Shaibal K. Sarkar and Ajay Perumal, will be responsible for fabricating the perovskite solar cells and related modules. Their expertise will be vital in translating the research findings into practical applications. One of the critical challenges faced by existing perovskite solar cells is their limited stability over time. The team’s objective is to develop solar cells that not only surpass the current state-of-the-art efficiency of 26 percent but also remain stable for over 10,000 hours.

Computational Investigations for Enhanced Efficiency:

Sudip Chakraborty, another co-investigator, will play a crucial role in the project by exploring the properties of various materials and their applications in efficient solar cells through computational investigations. This approach will help identify new strategies and materials that can further enhance the efficiency and stability of the solar cells.

Potential Impact and Future Prospects:

The research team’s endeavors hold significant potential for transforming the solar energy landscape. By achieving higher efficiencies and extended stability, their work could revolutionize solar cell technology. The development of efficient and stable solar cells has widespread implications, from enabling greater adoption of renewable energy to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

In addition to the immediate impact on solar energy generation, the research findings may also pave the way for advancements in other fields, such as energy storage and optoelectronics. The knowledge gained from studying the structure and properties of organic and perovskite materials could have far-reaching implications beyond solar cells.

Collaborative Efforts and Technological Progress:

The success of this ambitious research project relies on the collaboration and expertise of the multi-institute research team. By combining their diverse skills and knowledge, they aim to overcome the current limitations of perovskite solar cells and propel solar energy technology to new heights.

The recognition and grant awarded to the research team led by Pabitra K. Nayak for their work on developing highly efficient and stable solar cells using organic and metal halide perovskite-based materials are a testament to their pioneering efforts. With the potential to surpass the current state-of-the-art efficiency and stability standards, their research holds immense promise for advancing the field of solar energy. By harnessing the power of renewable energy sources like the sun, we can create a sustainable and cleaner future for generations to come.


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