Perovskite could give silicon a run for its money as the dominant material for solar panels, according to Stuff.
The story says that perovskite (which is named after a Russian mineralogist) is a calcium titanium oxide mineral that is found around the world.
The mineral has two advantages over silicon. The first is in manufacture. Silicon must be heated to temperatures of about 900 degrees. The process for Perovskite, on the other hand, requires only 100 degrees. Some elements of perovskite are superior as well, the story says. Its crystalline structure purer and the material can be rolled into sheets.
The mineral has disadvantages. No successful production method has been found. The mineral is sensitive to water and therefore must be encased in a watertight seal. It also requires some lead for performance, which raises environmental issues.
Chemistry World reports on the progress and challenges in perovskite development. The piece makes clear that the area is promising – but has a long way to go.